SANTA CROCE ..I'd been to many churches that had famous people buried in them, but I think Santa Croce wins the prize. This beautiful Gothic church built in 1294 was the final resting place for many among the favorite citizens of Florence. The list included both Galileo (1564 - 1642) and Michelangelo (1475 - 1564).

Forget the fact that Galileo was from Pisa, condemned by the Church and denied a Christian burial in 1616 for some little issue about the earth not being the center of the universe. Times changed and attitudes did too. He was buried in this church in 1737. Michelangelo's monument paid tribute to the fat that he was a painter, sculptor and architect. Some of his most famous works were reproduced around the memorial that was designed in 1570. And, they included the twisting poses and bulky muscles that he pioneered.


Dante's Statue

Michelangelo actually attended this church and his home was nearby. However, it didn't have the beautiful marble, Victorian Gothic fašade that adorned the front (and only the front). That was added in 1863 by a wealthy English benefactor, Francis Sloane.

There was also a memorial to the poet Dante Alighieri (1265 - 1321). However, he was not buried there. His political views got him banished from his hometown. Politics must be more important than religion, because he didn't get the forgiveness that Galileo did. Well, he did finally get an official pardon in 2008. And even though Florence asked to have his remains transferred back to his home city, the people of Ravenna will have no part of that. The only other name I recognized was Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527). He struggled with the ruling Medicis and ended up writing The Prince, a guide to hard-ball politics.


Copyright 2010 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.