Part of Santa Croce's convent has been set up as a museum, mainly to harbor artistic victims of the 1966 Arno flood, which buried the church under tons of mud and water. You enter through a door to the right of the church facade, which spills into an open-air courtyard planted with cypress and filled with birdsong.
At the end of the path is the Cappella de' Pazzi , one of Filippo Brunelleschi's architectural masterpieces (faithfully finished after his death in 1446). Giuliano da Maiano probably designed the porch that now precedes the chapel, set with glazed terra cottas by Luca della Robbia. The rectangular chapel is one of Brunelleschi's signature pieces and a defining example of (and model for) early Renaissance architecture. Light gray pietra serena is used to accent the architectural lines against smooth white plaster walls, and the only decorations are della Robbia roundels of the Apostles (1442-52). The chapel was barely finished by 1478, when the infamous Pazzi Conspiracy got the bulk of the family, who were funding this project, either killed or exiled.
From back in the first cloister you can enter the museum proper via the long hall of the refectory. On your right as you enter is the painting that became emblematic of all the artworks damaged during the 1966 flood, Cimabue's Crucifix , one of the masterpieces of the artist who began bridging the gap between Byzantine tradition and Renaissance innovation, not the least by teaching Giotto to paint.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Museo dell'Opera di Santa CroceLocals have answered 73 questions about Florence.
Ask Florence Locals about Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce
- Recommended 2009
- Recommended 2010