A Thing of Beauty

On aesthetics and well-being

By Google Arts & Culture

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella 2 (2017-08-17/2017-08-17) by Ermess

Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella are two art-filled Florentine basilicas with curious stories that blend art, beauty, and health.

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Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

Basilica of Santa Croce

Santa Croce is not just a masterpiece itself as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, but a sumptuous receptacle of artwork.

The basilica has sixteen richly decorated chapels and a wooden crucifix sculpted by a young Donatello.

Beautifully ornamented and expensive tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli are among the marvels of this Franciscan church.

Basilica of Santa Croce 2 (2020-04-07/2020-04-07) by Ruevue

Many of the frescoes of the Basilica of Santa Croce were painted by Giotto, the designer of Santa Maria del Fiore’s campanile.

Basilica of Santa Croce 3 (2019-10-25/2019-10-25) by Folco Masi

The construction of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence started in 1294 and was completed in 1385. 

The Basilica of Santa Croces’s neo-Gothic marbled façade was built in the mid-19th century after the redesign of the original brick façade.

Did you know that more than 50 major floods have affected the Basilica of Sancta Croce over the course of eight centuries?  

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Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

The Renaissance marble façade of Santa Maria Novella is just the prelude to an astonishing display of one-of-a-kind artwork that truly excites the senses.

One singularity is that within these walls an apothecary was born when some friars started experimenting with the plants and flowers that grew in the monastic garden.

Today it is the oldest pharmacy still in operation in the world, where an exquisitely decorated space has offered perfumes, soaps, remedies, and herbal products since the 13th century.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella 3 (2021-02-27/2021-02-27) by Artem Bolshakov

In 1614, Galileo was publicly denounced from the pulpit of Santa Maria Novella during a sermon delivered by a Dominican friar.

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella 1 (2018-11-18/2018-11-18) by Eleanora Altomare

The construction of Santa Maria Novella started in 1279 and lasted 80 years.

Sandro Botticelli, Filippo Brunelleschi and Domenico Ghirlandaio are among the artists who produced artworks for the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.

Did you know that the pulpit of Santa Maria Novella was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, who also built the duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore?

The opening line of the celebrated poem Endymion, written by English Romantic poet John Keats, perfectly epitomizes the story and the status of these Florentine basilicas: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”.

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