Through Via dei Benci we arrive at the great Piazza and Church of Santa Croce (1294) with its powerfully severe Gothic interior, full of works of art: frescoes by Giotto, Taddeo and Angelo Gaddi, Maso di Banco; sculpture by Donatello, Rossellino (the fine Tomb of Leonardo Bruni) and Canova. Santa Croce is a kind of Italian Pantheon: Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Vittorio Alfieri and Rossini are buried here. In the 13th century Cloister to the right of the church, is the Paz ,zi Chapel, a fine work by Brunelleschi (144). Leaving Santa Croce, one can see the brilliant painted facade of Palazzo dell'Antella, passing through Via Ghibellina, to arrive at Casa Buonarroti, once Michelangelo's house and now a Museum of youthful works, manuscripts and drawings by him. Continuing along Via Ghibellina we arrive at Palazzo dei Bargello, which houses the National Museum, with an exceptional collection of sculpture (Michelangelo, Verrocchio, Ghiberti), majolica, frescoes, miniatures and bronzes.
So ends our visit to Florence. By way of Via Borgo Pinti and Via degli Artisti we leave the centre, arriving at Via Alessandro Volta, from which branches off Via San Domenico, linking Florence and Fiesole.
The road winds up to Fiesole through a most beautiful landscape of hills, parks, villas and cypresses. About 3 km. (2 mi.) from Fiesole rises the 15th century Church of San Domenico where the friar painter Beato Angelico, who was parish priest here for some years, left a gentle Madonna, painted op wood, and a fresco of the Crucifixion. A little farther on is the Church of the Badia, which Brunelleschi rebuilt, using part of the former Romanesque facade of polychrome marble in the style of San Miniato.
FIESOLE was an important Etruscan city, as the ruins of massive walls show. Sella established a military colony here to punish the people of Fiesole who had taken the side of Marius. A fine Amphitheatre in picturesque surroudings remains from the Roman period. The Middle Ages left Fiesole with its fine Romanesque Cathedral: nave and two aisles, stone columns and Roman capitals. In the Archaelogical Museum, there is the important Etruscan She-wolf in bronze. One should not leave Fiesole without going up to the Franciscan Convent, built on the highest point of the city, where the Etruscan Acropolis and the medieval fortress once were. With the memory of Florence, the view of which from this point is the most evocative of all. We go down to the State Highway for Arezzo (88 km. - 55 mi. from Florence) in the Arno valley.
After Pontassieve, with its fine bridge, Incisa, with its medieval castle and Figline Valdarno with a rare Madonna by Giovanni del Biondo in the Church of San Francesco, one may halt at San Giovanni Valdarno. This was Masaccio's birthplace; there is a masterpiece by Beato Angelico, the Annunciation, in the Convent of Montecarlo (2 km. - 1 1/4 mi. from the town).