One of my favorite churches in Florence Italy is the Basilica of Santa Croce. It's incredibly beautiful with tons of history, art and even a school for leather. The church has always been an integral part of religious and civic life of Florence.
Santa Croce built in 1294 is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Luminaries, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli are all buried here.
The church has sixteen separate chapels as well as a Franciscan monastery and gardens.
Above is the nave of the church reflecting the austere approach of the Franciscans. Even though austere the church has over 4,000 pieces of artwork throughout by famous artists like Giotto, Gaddi, and Donatello.
If you visit Santa Croce make sure you see Scuola Del Cuoio , the school of leather. It was formed by the Franciscan friars and the Gori and Casini families, who were leather artisans. The mission was to give orphans from WWII a means to learn a practical trade so they could earn a living. It is still a school today. They offer courses that anyone can enroll in. They have a shop selling everything leather and examples of some of their artistry over the years. Below are photos of handbags and an amazing coat. Check the quilted details of the coat,