Piazza di Santa Croce
Basilica di Santa Croce
The austere interior of this massive Franciscan basilica is a shock after the magnificent neo-Gothic facade enlivened by varying shades...
Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce
The Museo dell’Opera di Santa Croce features a Crucifixion by Cimabue, restored to the best degree possible after flood damage in 1966...
By day, it’s a neighbourhood bar where locals get their croissant and cappuccinos. But by night, Oibò becomes Via de’ Benci’s top hot...
Valle dei Cedri
This new offering just off Piazza di Santa Croce offers up first-rate Lebanese fare made from fresh Tuscan ingredients. The maza ...
Piazza di Santa Croce information
This square was initially cleared in the Middle Ages, primarily to allow hordes of the faithful to gather when the church itself was full. In Savonarola's day, heretics were executed here.
Such an open space inevitably found other uses, and from the 14th century it was often the colourful scene of jousts, festivals and calcio storico matches. Still played in this square in the third week of June each year, calcio storico (www.calciostorico.it) is like a combination of football and rugby with few rules (headbutting, punching, elbowing and choking are allowed, but sucker-punching and kicks to the head are forbidden). Look for the marble stone embedded in the wall below the gaily frescoed facade of Palazzo dell'Antella , on the south side of the piazza; it marks the halfway line on this, one of the oldest football pitches in the world.
Curiously enough, the Romans used to have fun in much the same area centuries before. The city's 2nd-century amphitheatre took up the area facing the western end of Piazza di Santa Croce. To this day, Piazza dei Peruzzi, Via de' Bentaccordi and Via Torta mark the oval outline of the north, west and south sides of its course.