Basilica of Santa Croce’s Door Panel Stolen and Returned

travel tuscanySurveillance tapes from law enforcement in Florence revealed that a wooden door panel, wrapped in black cloth was left against a gate at the basilica. The panel was taken on Sunday June 15 from the Basilica of Santa Croce’s door in Florence.

The tapes show a man leaning the panel against the museum’s gate around 4am on June 16. After leaving the object wrapped in black cloth the man slowly walked away. The wood panel has floral carvings and measures 80 by 30 centimetres and is part of a door originally created for Florence’s Duomo, which was later donated to Santa Croce. The door was inaugurated in 1903.

Situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 metres south-east of the Duomo the Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, and is known as the Temple of the Italian Glorie.

The Basilica is the largest Franciscan church in the world with sixteen chapels, of which many were with frescoes by Giotto and his pupils. Some stories attribute St. Francis for founding the basilica. The current church building began construction in May of 1294 and funded by some of Florence’s most wealthy of families. In 1442, Pope Eugene IV consecrated the church.

The building’s design reflects the austere lifestyle of the Franciscans, with a floor plan that is laid out in a Tau Cross which is a symbol of St. Francis. The chapter house was completed sometime in the 1470’s. Sometime between 1560 and 1570, the choir screen was removed as part of changes arising from the Counter-Reformation which resulted in damage to the church’s decoration and most of the altars previously located on the screen sadly were lost.

The Duomo’s bell tower was built in 1842, replacing an earlier one damaged by lightning. Nicolò Matas was responsible for the neo-Gothic marble façade, which dates from 1857-1863.

A monument to Florence Nightingale stands in the cloister, in the city in which she was born and after which she was named. Brunelleschi also built the inner cloister, completed in 1453.

In 1966, the Arno River flooded much of Florence, including Santa Croce. The water entered the church bringing mud, pollution and heating oil. The damage to buildings and art treasures was severe, taking several decades to repair.

Today the former dormitory of the Franciscan Friars houses the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School). Visitors can watch as artisans craft purses, wallets, and other leather goods which are sold in the adjacent shop.

Other works of art by artists whose work is present in the church include:

  • Benedetto da Maiano (pulpit; doors to Cappella dei Pazzi, with his brother Giuliano)
  • Antonio Canova (Alfieri’s monument)
  • Cimabue (Crucifixion, badly damaged by the 1966 flood and now in the refectory)
  • Andrea della Robbia (altarpiece in Cappella Medici)
  • Luca della Robbia (decoration of Cappella dei Pazzi)
  • Desiderio da Settignano (Marsuppini’s tomb; frieze in Cappella dei Pazzi)
  • Donatello (relief of the Annunciation on the south wall; crucifix in the lefthand Cappella Bardi; St Louis of Toulouse in the refectory, originally made for the Orsanmichele)
  • Agnolo Gaddi (frescoes in Castellani Chapel and chancel; stained glass in chancel)
  • Taddeo Gaddi (frescoes in the Baroncelli Chapel; Crucifixion in the sacristy; Last Supper in the refectory, considered his best work)
  • Giotto (frescoes in Cappella Peruzzi and righthand Cappella Bardi; possibly Coronation of the Virgin, altarpiece in the Baroncelli Chapel, also attributed to Taddeo Gaddi)
  • Giovanni da Milano (frescoes in Cappella Rinuccini) with Scenes of the Life of the Virgin and the Magdalen
  • Maso di Banco (frescoes in Cappella Bardi di Vernio) depicting Scenes from the life of St.Sylvester (1335–1338).
  • Henry Moore (statue of a warrior in the Primo Chiostro)
  • Andrea Orcagna (frescoes largely disappeared during Vasari’s remodelling, but some fragments remain in the refectory)
  • Antonio Rossellino (relief of the Madonna del Latte (1478) in the south aisle)
  • Bernardo Rossellino (Bruni’s tomb)
  • Santi di Tito (Supper at Emmaus and Resurrection, altarpieces in the north aisle)
  • Giorgio Vasari (Michelangelo’s tomb) with sculpture by Valerio Cioli, Iovanni Bandini, and Battista Lorenzi. Way to Calvary painted by Vasari.[4]
  • Domenico Veneziano (SS John and Francis in the refectory)

Artist List Source: Wikipedia