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BBC video about Giotto frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence | www.news.bbc.co.uk
The restoration site in Santa Croce
The much-awaited guided tours of the restoration site of the frescoes in Santa Croce, the great Florentine basilica of the Holy Cross, have finally begun. The eight frescoes on the side walls of the Cappella Maggiore, painted in 1380 by Agnolo Gaddi and depicting the Legend of the True Cross, are now being restored. This is a unique opportunity to come face-to-face with the works of this great artist influenced by Giotto. The tour of the restoration site includes gradual ascension up 7 levels, for a total of 90 steps. There are three stops for explanations of the works. For safety reasons, access is only allowed to children over 12.
The tours, which last approximately 40 minutes, start on 16th May. The guided groups will include a maximum of 15 visitors. Booking required. Timetable of guided tours: from Monday to Friday at 10 am - 11 am - 12 noon - 2 pm - 3 pm - 4 pm.
The ticket costs € 13.00 and also allows entrance to the Basilica, the cloisters and the museum. Reservations can be made by phone from 10 am to 2 pm (tel. +39 055 2466105 - dial 3) or else by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , specifying the date and time of the visit, the number of people, a cell-phone number to contact, the names and dates of birth of the participants.
(From Apt - Agenzia per il Turismo di Firenze (Florence Official Tourist Office)
 Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz | City Palaces
Address: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Via Giuseppe Giusti 44, 50121 Firenze
The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz is one of the oldest research institutions dedicated to the History of Art and Architecture in Italy. Zoege von Manteufel was the director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence and developed the prints collection into one of the most representative collections in the west. The “creation of a large collection of illustrations suitable for comparative studies” was one of the main aims of the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence right from its establishment in 1897. This early collection, which came from donations and bequests, contains not only conventional photographic material but also engravings and prints.
 Funerary monuments | The Basilica became popular with Florentines as a place of worship and patronage and it became customary for greatly honoured Florentines to be buried or commemorated there. Some were in chapels "owned" by wealthy families such as the Bardi and Peruzzi. As time progressed, space was also granted to notable Italians from elsewhere. For 500 years monuments were erected in the church including those to:
Leon Battista Alberti (15th century architect and artistic theorist)
Vittorio Alfieri (18th century poet and dramatist)
Eugenio Barsanti (co-inventor of the internal combustion engine)
Lorenzo Bartolini (19th century sculptor)
Julie Clary, wife of Joseph Bonaparte, and their daughter Charlotte Napoléone Bonaparte
Leonardo Bruni (15th century chancellor of the Republic, scholar and historian)
Dante (actually buried in Ravenna)
Ugo Foscolo (19th century poet)
Giovanni Gentile (20th century philosopher)
Niccolò Machiavelli by Innocenzo Spinazzi
Carlo Marsuppini (15th century chancellor of the Republic)
Raffaello Morghen (19th century engraver)
Louise of Stolberg-Gedern (wife of Charles Edward Stuart)
Guglielmo Marconi (actually buried in his birthplace at Sasso Marconi, near Bologna)
Enrico Fermi (actually buried in Chicago, Illinois)
 Artists whose work is present in the church include:
Benedetto da Maiano (pulpit; doors to Cappella dei Pazzi, with his brother Giuliano)
Antonio Canova (Alfieri's monument)
Cimabue (Crucifixion, badly damaged by the 1966 flood and now in the refectory)
Andrea della Robbia (altarpiece in Cappella Medici)
Luca della Robbia (decoration of Cappella dei Pazzi)
Desiderio da Settignano (Marsuppini's tomb; frieze in Cappella dei Pazzi)
Donatello (relief of the Annunciation on the south wall; crucifix in the lefthand Cappella Bardi; St Louis of Toulouse in the refectory, originally made for the Orsanmichele)
Agnolo Gaddi (frescoes in Cappella Castellani and chancel; stained glass in chancel)
Taddeo Gaddi (frescoes in Cappella Baroncelli; Crucifixion in the sacristy; Last Supper in the refectory, considered his best work)
Giotto (frescoes in Cappella Peruzzi and righthand Cappella Bardi; possibly Coronation of the Virgin, altarpiece in Cappella Baroncelli)
Giovanni da Milano (frescoes in Cappella Rinuccini) with Scenes of the Life of the Virgin and the Magdalen
Maso di Banco (frescoes in Cappella Bardi di Vernio) depicting Scenes from the life of St.Sylvester (1335–1338).
Henry Moore (statue of a warrior in the Primo Chiostro)
Andrea Orcagna (frescoes largely disappeared during Vasari's remodelling, but some fragments remain in the refectory)
Antonio Rossellino (relief of the Madonna del Latte (1478) in the south aisle)
Bernardo Rossellino (Bruni's tomb)
Santi di Tito (Supper at Emmaus and Resurrection, altarpieces in the north aisle)
Giorgio Vasari (Michelangelo's tomb) with sculpture by Valerio Cioli, Iovanni Bandini, and Battista Lorenzi. Way to Calvary painted by Vasari.
Domenico Veneziano (SS John and Francis in the refectory)
Once present in the church's Medici Chapel, but now split between the Florentine Galleries and the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum in Milan, is a polyptych by Lorenzo di Niccolò.
 Originally Giovanni di Jacopo di Guido da Caversaccio. He came from Lombardy and is first recorded in Florence on 17 October 1346, listed as Johannes Jacobi de Commo among the foreign painters living in Florence. There follows a gap of at least 12 undocumented years until his inscription as Johannes Jacobi Guidonis de Mediolano with the Arte dei Medici e Speziali between 1358 and 1363. A tax return dated 26 December 1363 declares his ownership of land in Ripoli, Tizzana (nr Prato) and a house in the parish of S Pier Maggiore, Florence.
His earliest signed work, a polyptych in the Pinacoteca at Prato, was commissioned by 1363. This was followed by a Pietà dated 1365, now in the Accademia, Florence. He was influenced by the Sienese painter Simone Martini, but his forms have a solidity that looks back to Giotto. His mature style is associated with a linear grace.
 As with almost everything in Giotto's career, the dates of the fresco decorations that survive in Santa Croce are disputed. The Bardi Chapel, immediately to the right of the main chapel of the church, was painted in true fresco, and to some scholars the simplicity of its settings seems relatively close to those of Padua, while the Peruzzi Chapel's more complex settings suggest a later date. The Peruzzi Chapel is adjacent to the Bardi Chapel and was largely painted a secco. This technique, quicker but less durable than true fresco, has resulted in a fresco decoration that survives in a seriously deteriorated condition. Scholars who date this cycle earlier in Giotto's career see the growing interest in architectural expansion that it displays as close to the developments of the giottesque frescoes in the Lower Church at Assisi, while the Bardi frescoes have a new softness of color that indicates the artist going in a different direction, probably under the influence of Sienese art, and so must be a later development.
Piazza Santa Croce
Piazza Santa Croce is one of the largest and most famous squares of central Florence. The Basilica of Santa Croce, the largest Franciscan church in the world, overlooks the piazza.
Aside from the basilica, several important palazzos are on the square. Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori, on the opposite end from the basilica, is the 15th century (with earlier foundations) masterpiece of Giuliano da Sangallo, the personal architect of Lorenzo il Magnifico (with later work also attributed to Baccio d'Agnolo and Simone del Pollaiuolo). Today it houses the headquarters of the First Quarter neighborhood of Florence. In front of the Palazzo there is a baroque fountain originally attributed to Pietro Maria Bardi, constructed in 1673. It was later restored (circa 1816) by Giuseppe Manetti.
On the south side of the square lies the Palazzo dell'Antella (or Antellesi), a long building with a facade decorated with amazing (yet mostly destroyed) frescos by Giovanni da San Giovanni, and with windows of odd sizes (supposedly so that when seen from the steps of the church they all appear to be the same size). Today the ground floor of the Palazzo house shops and restaurants, while the upper floors are run by the Piccolomini family as short term tourist rentals.
The large rectangular shape of the square makes it a perfect place to host events, in particular the famous game of Calcio Fiorentino played every spring between the teams of the four "neighborhoods" of Florence. In 2006, Roberto Benigni recited Dante's Divine Comedy beside the Dante statue on the steps of the basilica. Almost every week a different themed market or festival takes place in the square - the annual Christmas market and the newer chocolate festival are just two examples of the many kinds of activities to discover in the piazza. It is also home to the Florence Marathon in the fall and the Half Marathon in the spring.
Art in Tuscany | Giovanni da San Giovanni (Giovanni Mannozzi)
Palazzo dell'Antella or Palazzo Stufa
From Piazza del Duomo to Santa Croce
Piazza del Duomo marks Florence’s religious heart, home to the (1) Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) (www.duomofirenze.it); the 14th-century (2) Campanile, or "bell tower"; and the (3) Battistero, or Baptistery. Visit all three before starting this walk, which explores the city’s medieval eastern quarter, a maze of small streets and half-hidden churches rich in historical associations.
Walk south from the piazza on the pedestrian-only Via dei Calzaiuoli, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, noting the pretty (4) Loggia del Bigallo on the right as you exit the square: It was built by a charitable foundation in the 1350s and formed part of an orphanage established by the foundation.
Visit the church of (5) Orsanmichele, midway down Via dei Calzaiuoli on the right at the corner of Via de’ Lamberti (the entrance is to the rear). It is known for its medieval niche statues and for a lovely interior dominated by a grand 14th-century tabernacle and a painting of the Madonna delle Grazie (1347) by Bernardo Daddi.
Almost opposite the church, take Via dei Tavolini and then Via Dante Alighieri. You are now in a district closely associated with the great Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri (1265–1321), author of The Divine Comedy. In the vicinity are the (6) Casa di Dante, or House of Dante (corner of Via Dante Alighieri and Via Santa Margherita; www.museocasadidante.it), a small museum devoted to the poet; (7) Santa Margherita, at Via Santa Margherita, near the corner with Via del Corso, the church where the poet may have married; and the (8) Badia Fiorentina, (go down Via Dante Alighieri and make a right on Via del Proconsolo), the parish church of Beatrice Portinari, Dante’s lifelong muse.
At the Badia, turn right on Via del Proconsolo to the (9) Bargello, directly across the way at Via del Proconsolo 4, once Florence’s medieval police headquarters, prison, and place of execution. Today it houses the cream of Florence’s medieval, Renaissance, and baroque sculpture, as well as numerous beautiful salons devoted to the decorative arts.
East of the Bargello you can meander almost at random, getting happily lost in the old streets en route to the 13th-century church of (10) Santa Croce in Piazza Santa Croce. The best route is down Via Ghibellina, if only because near its conclusion, a tiny right turn, Via Isola delle Stinche, takes you to the Il Gelato Vivoli (on the right at No.7R), widely considered to be Italy’s best ice cream.
Santa Croce is equally mouthwatering; the must-see church in Florence, thanks to numerous important early frescoes by Giotto and others, along with the tombs of some of the city’s most illustrious men and women, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.
Few visitors venture beyond Santa Croce, but the Sant’Ambrogio district to the north and east is worth the extra effort. Take Via delle Pinzochere off the north side of Piazza Santa Croce to the (11) Casa Buonarroti, (Via Ghibellina 70 near Via Michelangelo Buonarroti), a stylish museum devoted to Michelangelo.
Walk east from the museum on Via Ghibellina and turn left on Via dei Macci. A short way up on the right is the (12) Sant’Ambrogio market, focus of an increasingly chic neighborhood of cafés and specialty stores.
National Geographic | www.nationalgeographic.com/florence-walking-tour-2
Florence | Transport