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Santa Croce & Cappella dei Pazzi, Florence

Arcetri, Italy, Europe: Michelangelo's tomb, by Giorgio Vasari, in the Santa Croce church.
Piazza Santa Croce
Tel: 39 055 246 6105's insider take:

The 13th-century Franciscan church of Santa Croce has a typical Florentine striped facade. The vast interior has an open timber roof and it houses many tombs of Florence's more notable illustrious citizens, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti, and Machiavelli. Santa Croce's many art treasures include a beautiful marble pulpit by Benedetto da Maiano and Bernardo Rossellino's tomb of Leonardo Bruni. But it is the trecento frescoes that are particularly remarkable. The Castellani, Baroncelli, Medici, and Rinuccini chapels are all beautifully decorated, but the jewels are the Peruzzi and Bardi chapels, both frescoed by Giotto in the 14th century. A door in the south aisle leads through a cloister to Brunelleschi's Cappella dei Pazzi, one of the most influentially minimalist buildings of the Florentine Renaissance, a paean to a time when geometric perfection had a spiritual resonance.

Open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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