Summarize in a few words what are the main characteristics of the famous Piazza Santa Croce is not easy, because since 1200 it hosts buildings, works of art and traditions of the most characteristic in Florence.
Just outside the city walls, the square was originally a real island between two branches of the river Arno. It was chosen as a settlement area by the Franciscans. During the Renaissance, thanks to its spacious rectangular layout, became the ideal site for knightly jousts and celebrations: some ancient traditions, such as historical football, are still an important part of the Florentine culture.
The basilica, imposing, dominating the square in all its beauty is particularly famous because it houses the tombs of famous Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Galileo ... The buildings surrounding the square with their typical architecture and the statue of Dante, sculpted by Enrico Pazzi, is the main symbol of Santa Croce, and its reference point.
Don’t not miss to visit the Pazzi Chapel, Brunelleschi's masterpiece, and the Museum of Santa Croce with the crucifix by Cimabue (about 1270) and the last supper of Gaddi.
In addition to this, the area of Santa Croce is one of the liveliest in the city, with an extraordinary range of clubs, bars and restaurants open day and night.
Certainly it is a bit the heart of the nightlife in Florence, frequented by foreigner and Florentines who move between here and the close by Sant’Ambrogio.
Via de' Benci is the nerve center of the movement at night and runs along one side of the square: here you can find almost everything!
Santa Croce is also the place of choice for a number of markets and traditional fairs made every year in Florence: not to be missed in Christmas time!
Credits Pics Flickr Gallery: Flavio~ - Gaspa - D H Wright