2005 Mathematics May Seminar

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Basilica di Santa Croce

The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the main Franciscan church of Florence and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is located on the Piazza Santa Croce, to the east of the Duomo. Legends say that Santa Croce was founded by St. Francis.

St. Francis of Assisi was the patron saint of animals and the eenvironment, was a Roman Catholic saint who took the gospel literally by following all Jesus said and did.

The first bricks laid were in the year 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, who also designed the Duomo. Brunelleschi, who built the dome over the Duomo, also built cloisters, or the covered stone passage, around the courtyard. The basilica is 115 meters long and its nave is 195 meters wide. Although its most notable features are its sixteen chapels, many of them decorated with frescoes by Giotti.

Frescoe is the art of painting on freshly spread moist lime plaster with pigments that are suspended in water. This gives the effect that the paintings weren’t painted on but are actually pigments inside the plaster.

Many Florentines lie in peace inside the basilica. The walls are lined with tombs and there are exactly 276 tombstones that pave the floor. Some of the most famous tombs and tombstones belonging to Michelangelo (image on the left), Macchiavelli, Galileo, and Bardi.

Michelangelo was a famous sculpture from Florentine. His most known piece was most likely the Statue of David. He lived from 1475 to 1564. Macchiavelli was also a Florentine. He was a political philosopher and historical thinker. He wrote the book The Prince, which tells of ways to win elections. He was accused of conspiracy and somewhat reconciled during the latter end of his life. Just a few weeks before he died on June 21, 1527, Rome fell to the poorly armed Spanish infantry. He had foretold how this tragedy could have been avoided but no one listened to him. Bardi, also a Florentine is buried here. Alberto Bardi was a contemporary Italian abstract painter. He lived from 1918 to 1984.

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