Although the Duomo is the best known of Florence's basilicas, Santa Croce is really a must designation for any visitor to the city. Not only is it a beautiful venue, both exterior and interior, it is also the burial site for a number of important personages in Italian history.
First the facade. It is gorgeous. This is a very large facility, in fact, the world's largest Franciscan church.
[A note: I have learned from experience that when I am seeking a symmetrical shot, I need to get as close to the center line as possible. Even a few inches one way or the other can make it impossible in post processing to rectify the image. Here I was fortunate that there was a large plaza fronting the basilica and that I was able to get a clear shot without dealing with visitors in the foreground of the image.]
There is a wonderful, and massive, statue of Dante to the left of the front of the basilica, visible in the lower left of the above photo.
The statue shows great strength in the subject's countenance. The lighting for this shot was superb. But every time I look at this image I imagine the eagle asking Dante why he has that silly pigeon on his head.
Unlike the Duomo, the interior of Santa Croce is also architecturally interesting. Here, first, is a shot toward the sanctuary from the rear of the nave.
And another from about midway up the nave, providing a better view of the apse.
Closer still, here is a photo of the ceiling of the apse.
Finally, here is a shot of an ornate crucifix suspended from the apse ceiling, posed against a beautiful stained glass window at the rear of the apse..
Here is another stained glass window that caught my eye. Although it employs essentially a single color, I found it to be elegant in its simplicity.
One of the remarkable things about Santa Croce is the number of famous personages that are entombed there. I'm sure I missed a number of those persons, but these are ones that I found:
Among those crypts I missed: Michelangelo.
On our way out of the basilica, we passed through an exterior courtyard and I caught the following scene.
I thought that the shadows created by the pillars on the open side of the archway, along with the figure that seemingly was posed in the gateway, really helped to make this shot.
I also caught this second, wider shot that did not include the figure but did include the shadowing from the bars of the gate.
I felt fortunate to get these images. They are among my favorite of our time in Florence.
This basilica was not a scheduled stop on our formal tour of Florence. However, it really should be.