Piazza Santa Croce is the perfect spot to stare at the symmetrical beauty of the church and admire the architectural gems that surround you. Sit at one of the stone benches or the basilica steps and gaze upon the gorgeous sights. Constantly packed with locals, visitors, and international students, it is also the right place to meet some people. Just make sure to return in the evening when groups gather to sip some wine and chat.
Address: Piazza Santa Croce
Also called the church of “Italian Glories,” Santa Croce is widely known as the resting place of many renowned Italians. Visit the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini and pay special attention to the monument dedicated to Dante Alighieri, one of the greatest poets that ever lived.
Address & telephone number: Piazza Santa Croce 16, Florence
When you’re done seeing all the breathtaking pieces of history and art, a separate charge can gain you admission to the Museo dell’Opera. Spend some time there and see Cimabue’s wonderful Crucifix, nowadays a symbol for the floods in 1966 and the city’s recovery from the disaster.
After an exciting sightseeing, it is time for a quick lunch break. At Caffè Mario you will satisfy your hunger with a delicious slice of pizza or panino. If you prefer something sweet, you will find some amazing pastries. Take a coffee to go or a freshly squeezed orange juice and continue strolling around the neighborhood.
Address & telephone number: Piazza Santa Croce 2, Florence, +39 055 234 4877
Near the piazza, you have the chance to visit one of the city’s oldest libraries. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale was created out of the private collection of Antonio Magliabechi. Altough it survived the flood of 1966, it suffered serious damage and is still being restored.
Address & telephone number: Piazza Dei Cavalleggeri 1, Florence, +39 055 249191
Santa Croce district can satisfy not only art but also shopping lovers. Well-known for the several shops and stalls encircling the piazza, this is the place to find good bargains on leather goods like bags and accessories. If you are more interested in the process of their creation, you can as well visit La Scuola di Cuoio, a renaissance workshop, to see how animal skins are worked by hand to create the final product.
Address & telephone number: Via S. Giuseppe 5r, Florence, +39 055 244533
Despite the great importance of the tombs, there is much more to see in Florence. The largest Franciscan church in the world is also the home to some artistic gems. Take a look at Donatello’s sculpture works, the magnificent 13th-century frescoes by Giotto, and gaze at the oldest example of Florentine stained glass in the windows.
Address: Piazza Santa Croce 16, Florence
Filled with people night and day, Santa Croce is definitely one of the city’s hot spots. It’s no wonder why – apart from the frequent markets taking place each year – there are a lot of evening concerts and performances as well. Whatever is happening, the talented local artists will surely amaze you.
Calcio Storico is an early form of soccer, thought to have its origins in Piazza Santa Croce and believed to have started as a revival of the Roman harpastum. Visit the place on the third week of June and get the unique opportunity to watch the opening ceremony.
Cafés and restaurants can be found everywhere around the corner from the piazza making it the most visited neighborhood for the nightlife. Enjoy a perfect end of a day at one of the cozy nearby bars. In case you are a wine lover, do not miss Note di Vino, a small wine bar with a lovely view, which also serves authentic Tuscan dishes for a relaxing, delightful evening.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-11pm
Address & telephone number: Borgo dei Greci 4, Florence, +39 339 738 6548
By Maria Menegaki