Basilica of Santa Croce

Basilica of Santa Croce

Architect Arnolfo di Cambio (?)

Date begun ca. 1295

Movement Proto-Renaissance

Located at Florence, Italy


Pointed arches compose the nave arcade; however, very little else within this church expresses Gothic influence. While French cathedrals emphasize verticality, Santa Croce is wide and expansive, sprawling horizontally. There is no vaulted ceiling but rather a timbered roof supported by trusses; perhaps this was to imitate the Romanesque Italian style of basilicas, like that of Pisa, or perhaps even of Early Christian churches; either way, it was significantly cheaper, in line with the Franciscan Order’s frugality. As with Early Christian basilicas and chapels of the Cistercian Order, the plan is incredibly simple; the only piece that burgeons out is the terminating apse. Chapels and aisle bays would have housed the remains of the city’s elite.