Churches of Florence: Santa Croce with Dr. Alessandra Becucci

Churches of Florence: Santa Croce with Dr. Alessandra Becucci


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A treasure chest of Italian art, Santa Croce sits in the center of one of Florence’s liveliest and most culturally rich neighborhoods. Join us to visit the Pantheon of Florence, home to the tombs of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and Galileo, along with masterpieces by Cimabue, Giotto, Donatello, and Brunelleschi.

Built by the Franciscan order not long after the death of St Francis, Santa Croce is famed for its extensive array of paintings by the most important painter of the 1300s, Giotto. We will learn how and why his work was favored by the Florentine nobility, who commissioned him to decorate their private family chapels. The innovative character of his painting inspired artists such as Masaccio and Michelangelo centuries later. By the 1400s, Santa Croce became known as “The Pantheon of Florence” when monumental tombs honoring heroes of the Florentine Republic were erected here. The tomb of Renaissance master Lorenzo Ghiberti, the celebrated author of the Gates of the Florentine Baptistry, became a prototype for future church memorials. In 1530, while the Imperial troops besieged Florence, the first-ever Florentine soccer match was played in front of the church to show the enemy camped on the hills south of the city how resilient the Florentines were. A few years later, under Medici rule, the court architect Giorgio Vasari redecorated the Basilica and designed the most famous monument in the church, the tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Later, other important personalities were celebrated in Santa Croce, including Galileo Galilei, Gioacchino Rossini, and several prominent members of the many communities of foreign residents in Florence.

Led by Florentine art historian Alessandra Becucci this conversation will take us to the heart of Florence to discover the rich history of its famed churches. Join us in the exploration of Santa Croce, one of the best expressions of Italian artistic genius ever created.

This conversation is part of a series on the churches of Florence with Alessandra Becucci. Each session is designed as a stand-alone seminar as well as part of the series.

Born and raised in Florence, Alessandra has a degree in art history from the University of Florence with a specialization in seventeenth-century painting. She obtained an MRes from the European University Institute in Florence, where she defended her Ph.D in history, focusing on the patronage of Tuscan nobility in Europe during the seventeenth century. She has been teaching art history and Italian for several years in various schools and institutions in Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
67%
(6)
33%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.-.B.M.
Nice Re-visit to Santa Croce

Dr. Becucci started this program with a helpful review of the history of this basilica (how it is located where it is, architecture of the structure) and then started a look inside for its treasures: transept chapels, the sacristy, the ground and wall burials. It was informative to hear more about the lives of the key individuals (politicians and artists) buried there -- e.g., Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Ghilberti). Enjoyed this the most as I have visited this basilica a few times and one can feel humbled to have these great individuals' graves all in such a beautiful church..Slides and discussion about the awful 1966 Arno River flood and the hard work of the 'mud angels' who helped rescue such precious art. Information about the piazza in front of the basilica was a plus -- especially regarding the annual (somewhat brutal) 'historical soccer" games held in the summer -- why they started and how they are still held). The stands were all ready for this during one visit I had. The speaker also related helpful tourist tips to consider if/when we can visit the city again. Diagrams, old sketches, current and archival photos included were wonderful. Unfortunately, couldn't see the speaker's face during much of the presentation which was a distraction. (The camera seemed to focus a lot on her eyes and forehead periodically and not her entire face -- to help the listener be more engaged during the talk..)

C
C.B.
wonderful presentation

We have visited Santa Croce many times. Dr. Becucci added a new dimension to my understanding of this church and its history....

K
K.

Dr. Becucci's talk on Santa Croce was so informative and interesting. I loved hearing about the famous people who are buried there.

M
M.B.
Santa Croce

A great refresher on some of the features of this fabulous church in Florence.

S
S.M.
Inviting and Informative Seminar about Santa Croce

Dr Becucci was a fantastic speaker about this magnificent church. She was engaging with her knowledge and thorough in her approach. I learned so much. I especially appreciated the information about how the floods in 1966 and the restoration are a vital part of the story. Very grateful!

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
67%
(6)
33%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.-.B.M.
Nice Re-visit to Santa Croce

Dr. Becucci started this program with a helpful review of the history of this basilica (how it is located where it is, architecture of the structure) and then started a look inside for its treasures: transept chapels, the sacristy, the ground and wall burials. It was informative to hear more about the lives of the key individuals (politicians and artists) buried there -- e.g., Galileo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Ghilberti). Enjoyed this the most as I have visited this basilica a few times and one can feel humbled to have these great individuals' graves all in such a beautiful church..Slides and discussion about the awful 1966 Arno River flood and the hard work of the 'mud angels' who helped rescue such precious art. Information about the piazza in front of the basilica was a plus -- especially regarding the annual (somewhat brutal) 'historical soccer" games held in the summer -- why they started and how they are still held). The stands were all ready for this during one visit I had. The speaker also related helpful tourist tips to consider if/when we can visit the city again. Diagrams, old sketches, current and archival photos included were wonderful. Unfortunately, couldn't see the speaker's face during much of the presentation which was a distraction. (The camera seemed to focus a lot on her eyes and forehead periodically and not her entire face -- to help the listener be more engaged during the talk..)

C
C.B.
wonderful presentation

We have visited Santa Croce many times. Dr. Becucci added a new dimension to my understanding of this church and its history....

K
K.

Dr. Becucci's talk on Santa Croce was so informative and interesting. I loved hearing about the famous people who are buried there.

M
M.B.
Santa Croce

A great refresher on some of the features of this fabulous church in Florence.

S
S.M.
Inviting and Informative Seminar about Santa Croce

Dr Becucci was a fantastic speaker about this magnificent church. She was engaging with her knowledge and thorough in her approach. I learned so much. I especially appreciated the information about how the floods in 1966 and the restoration are a vital part of the story. Very grateful!