The Basilica was built in 1294 over the original structure from 1212 of a design by the great architect Arnolfo di Cambio. Legend says that Santa Croce was founded by St Francis himself.
Some of history’s most influential artists have made their mark on the church, from frescoes by Giotto and Agnolo Gaddi, to architecture by Brunelleschi and Donatello
The Basilica became popular with Florentines as a place of worship and patronage and it became customary for greatly honored Florentines to be buried or commemorated there.
There are tombs and monuments of famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, the poet Ugo Foscolo, the philosopher and the composer Gioachino Rossini.