The Main Chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce Open for Visits
After Five Year Restoration
The main chapel in Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in existence, was the last chapel to be decorated during the 14th century. Painted in 1380’s by Agnolo Gaddi, the impressive fresco cycle covers 800m² of wall space (30m high and 10m wide). The painter was considered one of the most important artists in Florence at the time, since his father and teacher, Taddeo Gaddi was one of the best students and closest collaborators of Giotto.
The frescoes depict the Legend of the True Cross, written by Jacopo da Veragine, a subject fitting to the church dedicated to Holly Cross. One of the richest banking families of the time, Alberti family were the patrons of this, probably most important artistic project in Florence at the end of the 14th century.
After a five year restoration, Gaddi’s fresco is now open to public and visitors have a once in a lifetime opportunity to climb up the scaffolding, and see the intricate details close up. The splendid fresco features lovely details that have nothing to do with the Story of the True Cross. The scenes of everyday life – fashion trends of 14th century Florentines, details of a medieval hospital, different animals, as well as numerous kinds of flowers, bring the fresco to life. In addition, the fresco features numerous portraits of the people of the time, including a self-portrait of Agnolo Gaddi, a portrait of his father, Taddeo and two Alberti patrons.
The restoration of Agnolo Gaddi’s fresco cycle is one of the most important restoration projects in Italy. It was done thanks to a donation of a Japanese businessman and art patron, Tetsuya Kuroda, who donated almost 1.2 million euro; the same amount was provided by the Opera di Santa Croce, while MiBAC (Ministry of Artistic Heritage and Culture) provided close to 300,000 euro in funding.
Guided visits in English or Italian, on the nine-level scaffolding, last 60 minutes.
For more information and reservations, visit www.santacroceopera.it or call o55-2466105 ext. 3.