Casa Di Dante is a few minutes walk away from the cathedral; there are signs everywhere, and lots of tourists walking towards it. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was probably the first Renaissance poet, and the most famous Florentine. The house, which is if not his family’s, then at least a good replica; the church where he first saw Beatrice, and where she is buried; the many monuments to him; and the beautiful Commedia Divina, his major work, which is also an amazing document of the epoch, are all well known around the world. Standing in front of the house, one can feel the sheer weight of centuries, the presence of History herself. From the house, it is an easy walk to Santa Croce, perhaps the most celebrated church in Florence which was begun in 1294. It is believed that the original church was founded by St. Francis of Assisi himself. The great square serves as a wonderful frame for the large building which comprises 16 chapels. Dante’s statue, one of the many monuments to the great poet, stands eternally to the left of the church. Inside, there are lovely stained glass windows, lots of frescoes and paintings by virtually every artist of the period, and several notable memorials. Dante’s Cenotaph, which is believed to contain his heart, is in the center of the main hall. As you slowly walk around, you will find the magnificent tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and many other dignitaries. The courtyard and the cloister are also included into the tour. The beautiful multicolored façade is a neo-gothic addition constructed in the 19th century. It is clearly modeled on the much older designs of some other churches. Visiting Santa Croce is like being in a vast museum dedicated to the memory of many celebrated people, and of the city itself.







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