Florence’s Pantheon and my favorite church in Florence, Santa Croce hosts 270 tombstones that pave the floor of the church, honoring those who strongly impacted the course of history in the fields of art, history and music. The most famous tomb belongs to Michelangelo, followed by those of Machiavelli, Galileo, Bruni, Rossini and Ghiberti. The largest Franciscan church in existence, Santa Croce was founded in 1294 to replace a smaller church built 1222. Completed in 1415, its aristocratic beauty, which leaves one breathless, is filled with one of the most famous fresco cycles by Giotto, the founder of Western painting. These frescoes were whitewashed by Vasari in the 16th century and again in the 1950s. After several previous restorations, the repainting was removed, leaving unattractive blank spaces that can be seen today.