FLORENCE: SANTA CROCE AND THE CAPELLE MEDICI
On our recent visit to Florence we were trying to visit some places we'd never been to, or places we hadn't been to in a long time. Santa Croce falls into the second category, and just recently someone told us that the church had been completely renovated and we should be sure to visit it the next time we were in Florence. I wish I could remember who told us this, because either they have Santa Croce confused with some other church, or maybe they thought it would be years before we re-visited Florence. Can you guess where this is going?
Things have changed since we were last at Santa Croce - now you have to pay an admission charge, and you enter thru a side door rather than the main door. LIttle did we know what else had changed.....
As we walked into the church I was expecting an "OH WOW!" moment, but what I got was an "oh dear..." moment. Scaffolding was EVERWHERE! the main altar was hidden somewhere under a wall of scaffolding,
and a closer look revealed people on platforms within the scaffolding doing their restoration work. Who knows how many years this restoration might take, but at least the work is being done! Just in case you're wondering, yes, photos are allowed inside the church.
Of course there were still many beautiful things to see in the church, including Michelangelo's tomb, several side altars and assorted chapels, as well as the outdoor space and the museum.
Our long-overdue visit to the Medici Chapel was also quite a let-down. I hesitate to say that it was a disappointment, because we did get to see part of it's splendor, but the overall effect was certainly dulled by all the scaffolding within the chapel itself. We had been warned about the restoration by a large sign outside the entry, but it really hadn't prepared us for the extent of the restoration works, or how that first step into the chapel would be such a let-down, especially when you could just glimpse the spendors hidden behind the scaffolding.
No pictures were allowed inside the Medici Chapel, so you'll have to take your chances when or if you go to Florence, or perhaps there are some websites that might show everything as it was meant to be.