The Franciscan church of Santa Croce might date back to the end of the 13th century, but its marble façade was only added in the middle of the 19th century (1857-63).
It was designed by Niccolò Matas (1798-1872), an Jewish architect from Ancona, and largely financed by Francis Joseph Sloane (1794-1871), a Scottish benefactor, who made his fortune from mining.
The marble bas-reliefs above the three doors depict the Invention of the True Cross by Tito Sarrocchi, the Triumph of the Cross by Giovanni Dupre and the Vision of Constantine by Emilio Zocchi.
The name of the architect (and the date the facade was inaugurated) can also be seen high up on the right side of the church.
Although Matas was granted the right to be buried in Santa Croce, he chose to be interred outside the main door of the church, for the 'facade of this temple was a monument to its maker' (la facciata di questo tempio fosse monumento all' artefice), as we read on his gravestone.
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