Church or Museum? The Case of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

By Jeni Ryde.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Catholic Church, especially in Italy, is a holder of both tangible and intangible heritage. Conflict has developed between the traditional historic role of the Church in Italy and the current demands of international heritage tourism so much so that the impact of tourism is changing the function and purpose of many sacred sites. This is particularly evident in centres such as Florence which have been marked out as venues for tourist consumption. The Basilica of Santa Croce situated in the historic centre of Florence is the largest Franciscan church in the world and receives over 1 million visitors annually. It is one of the most visited sacred sites in Italy and in Europe. This paper will examine the impact of tourism on the site. It will explore the evolving needs and some of the areas of concern held by administrative and religious bodies responsible for the Basilica and will focus on the museological implications of management interventions at the site.

Keywords: Renaissance, Catholic Church, Tourism, Museum

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.39-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.272MB).

Jeni Ryde

Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Languages, The University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Jeni Ryde is a senior lecturer at the University of Western Sydney in Interpreting and Translation and Italian Studies with specialisations in the Italian Renaissance and Italian Cinema. The paper presented forms part of a PhD thesis - a cross disciplinary study investigating whether the commodification of the Renaissance through international heritage tourism is impacting Catholic Church sites in Tuscany holding Renaissance heritage materials.


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