Basilica of Santa Croce

Lecce, Italy

Basilica di Santa Croce is a Baroque style church that was completed in 1695 in Lecce, Apulia. Walter VI, Count of Brienne, had founded in the current church's location a monastery in the 14th century. In 1549, a new church was begun, using, among the others, houses from Jews who had been ousted from Lecce in 1510. The construction dragged on for two centuries; by 1582, the lower façade had been finished, while the dome was completed in 1590. The portals were added starting in 1606, under the direction of Francesco Antonio Zimbalo. The church was completed by his successors Cesare Penna (upper façade and the rose window) and Giuseppe Zimbalo (decoration of the upper façade).


The church has a richly decorated façade, with six smooth columns supporting an entablature, with animals, grotesque figures and vegetables, and has a large rose window. The main portal has a pair of Corinthian columns and the coats of arms of Philip III of Spain, Mary of Enghien and Walter VI of Brienne, while on the side portals are those of the Celestines. Several atlantes would represent the Turk prisoners made by the Christian League at the Battle of Lepanto (1571). The animals under the balustrade would symbolize the Christian powers which participated in the battle: the dragon was the symbol of the Boncompagni, family of Pope Gregory XIII; the griffon the Republic of Genoa, Hercules the Grand Duke of Tuscany


The interior, on the Latin cross plan, had originally a nave and four aisles, two of which were turned into side chapels in the 18th century. The church has seventeen altars: the main one has a decorated portal with the coat of arms of the Adorni family, whose tombs were inside the basilica. Notable is also that of St. Francis of Paola, a Baroque piece of art by Francesco Antonio Zimbalo.

The nave has a rich wooden caisson ceiling.



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Founded: 1549-1695
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sly Slyrfs (4 months ago)
Approaching Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, is an experience that takes your breath away. The Gothic masterpiece stands tall, its facade has a mesmerizing blend of pink, green, and white marble. Stepping inside, I find myself immersed in a vast interior filled with stunning frescoes, chapels, and the final resting places of legends like Michelangelo and Galileo. The detailed craftsmanship in chapels like Bardi and Peruzzi is captivating, while the simplicity of Cappella dei Pazzi and the beauty of stained glass windows create a spiritual ambiance. Exploring the peaceful cloisters surrounding the basilica, with their greenery and timeless sculptures, offers a serene escape. Piazza Santa Croce, the square in front of the basilica, becomes a lively gathering place for both locals and tourists, adding vibrancy to the surroundings. Basilica di Santa Croce, for me, is a journey through time, a celebration of Florence's rich history, and an appreciation of human achievement in architecture and art. Truly a remarkable place.
Aegis Thunder (4 months ago)
Beautiful place, especially off season, MUST visit!! The inside is amazing. Better do the cumulative ticket that allows you to visit all the churches in the complex and get on the bell tower (21 euros per person)
Michal Zamek (8 months ago)
Nice baroque building, the exterior is richly decorated. Interior is a little bit less interesting, but still nice. You need a combined ticket valid to several baroque buildings to enter inside. The price of the ticket was 11 eur.
Espen Sletten (10 months ago)
Love it. I'm not religious, but the design of this Basilica is absolutely gorgeous! For 11 euros you'll get entrance to a museum, four churches and a cript. Worth every penny. Go, just go!
Chiara Zen (11 months ago)
The is one perfect example of Lecce baroque style architecture. It is worthy to pay the ticket and see the inside because it's quite spectacular if you love this kind of white tufo magics. The ceiling and the floor are also very pretty and the cathedral is quite big to see.
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