The Medici family financed the renovation of the San Lorenzo Church and the adjoining chapels. The entrance to the Medici Chapels is on the back side of the church and is separate from the church entrance.
After paying to enter (€6), you come into a museum area that has quite a few elaborate chapel pieces on display. Our first stop was the New Sacristy which was designed by Michelangelo and has his sculptures in it. This room houses the tombs of Cosimo’s two sons, Lorenzo (the Magnificent) and Guiliano. On their tombs are Michelangelo’s famous sculptures of Night/Day and Dusk/Dawn. There is also his Madonna and Child (originally planned for Pope Julius II’s tomb). Unfortunately, Michelangelo just couldn’t sculpt female nudes as well as male nudes. The poor lady in Night has some real issues with her chest! But this would become the influence for Mannerism for the next 40 years or so. His original plans called for frescoes as well, but they didn’t get done.
Michelangelo fell out of favor with the locals and had to be smuggled out of town. It is said he hid in this room while waiting to escape. If you look behind the altar you will see where the workers doodled on the walls – they were supposed to be covered with frescoes so I’m sure they never thought we’d be looking at their ‘work’. Photos are absolutely prohibited in this room!
After visiting the new Sacristy, we toured the Chapel of the Princes – an elaborate chapel with a domed ceiling. This wasn’t a Renaissance design but contains many tombs of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. There were lots and lots of marble in this room. The details on the altar are worth some time looking over.
This was an interesting stop and worth it if you are interested in Michelangelo’s work. If that doesn’t interest you, then I wouldn’t recommend this for you. Without Michelangelo, it is just another fancy church.
Before leaving the San Lorenzo area, stop by the Laurentian Library, which is in the cloisters of the church. The vestibule as well as the interior of the library were designed by Michelangelo.
The most important political family of Florence's personal chapel is on display for the general public in the area of San Lorenzo. Many of the deceased members of this prestigious lineage are buried here. The building and a few statues in the neighboring Sagrestia Nuova were desgined or carved by Michaelangelo.
Be sure to check out the "Day and Night" and "Dawn and Dusk" tombs at the Sagrestia Nuova.
Open 8-5 most days.
One of the better parts about staying in the San Lorenzo Apartments, is that your window view is of the Medici Chapel!
The Medici Chapel is part of the large San Lorenzo Church complex in the New Sacristy (Sagrestia Nuova). Commissioned in 1520 by Pope Clement VII (formerly Cardinal Giulio de' Medici), the chapel is the Medici family mausoleum. It was designed and built largely by Michelangelo and his students from 1520 to 1534.
From the crypt with the tumbs of some of Medici's family a stairs takes you to the Cappella dei Principi, the Medici's family gran dukes' mausoleum. The first project was changed by Buontalenti. The Chapel is a vast octagonal room all covered with dark marbles and semiprecious stones.
All around, on the walls there are the armorial bearings of sixteen tuscan cities.
Lean against walls there are the six monumental sarcophagus of gran dukes Ferdinando II, Cosimo II, Ferdinando I, Cosimo I, Francesco I e Cosimo III.
It's a pity that the view of this room is partially covered by tents for many restorations that will last ahead.
A corridor links the Chapel to the New Sacresty, called so to destinguish it from the Brunelleschi's Sacristy.
Michelangelo started building it in the 1521, and in the 1524 he had already made the vault, but works slowed down cause the expultion of the Family in 1527 and the siege of Florence.
With the Michelangelo departure from Florence in 1534 the work remained unfinished:Michelangelo finished only Lorenzo's Sepulchre, duke of Urbino,and the one of Giuliano of Nemours.
On its Sepulchre, the statue of Giuliano is portraied with cuirass, as a man of action. At his feet there are the 2 allegories of Night and Day. The Night, is surrounded by symbols of the dark and the sleep and is smoother than the other one that was left unfinished on purpose.
In front of this Sepulchre there is the one of Lorenzo of Urbino. His figure is shown in a thoughtful position, in contraposition of the other one. At his feet there are the Dawn and the Dusk. The first one is portraied as she has just awoken up with a bitter expression on her face, with all the anxiety of facing a new day; the other one is portraied as left in a painful inertia.All 4 allegories were thought as imagines of the destructive strenght of the time.
Since it's not allowed taking picture these 2 pics are not mine but I borrowed from a web site.
This is a chapel off of the San Lorenzo church dedicated to the Medici family. It houses their tombs which was begun by Cosomo I in 1604. There are three statues carved by Michelangelo; The Tombe of the Duke of Urbino, The Tomb of the Duke of Nemours, Madonna and Child. All were completed between 1520 and 1534.
To me the medici chapel with the new sacristy in the San Lorenzo church is one of the most fascinating places in Florence. Nowhere else in Florence did I feel the power and richness the Medici had in the renaissance time as much as here. From the outside the medici chapel looks pretty unimpressive but the inside is just the contrary. And the New Sacristy with the allegorical statues of night, day, dawn and dusk by Michelangelo buonarotti are among the best I've seen of his work.
Something that most people don't know is that there are original sketches by Michelangelo on the oriel's wall between the two tombs.
Pay attention when visiting the Medici Chapel since there were restauration works going on at the time of my visit (may 2009). Restauration works can last for several years. There was no warning at the entrance, and the entrance fee is expensive. Take a look at the pictures, since it's what is possible to see, and decide for yoursel if you should do the visit :)
The Medici Chapel with the new sacristy built by Michelangelo is one of my favourite places in Florence.
The New Sacristy holds the tombs of Giulano and Lorenzo de Medici with the beautiful marble sculptures Night, Day, Dawn and Dusk.
The Medici Chapels are notable in the Florentine landscape with its red brick dome. It is sometimes referred to as the Mini-Duomo.
As grandly as they lived life, they also planned elaborate tombs. Michelangelo was a sculptor of some of the funerary sculptures adorning the tombs.
Here’s another one where you have to keep the lens cap on. Rats.
The ‘museum’ is essentially an addition to the Medici’s favored church of San Lorenzo and was originally constructed as a 3-part mausoleum for the Grand Dukes and their families. The largest section is the octagonal Chapel of the Princes: a seriously over-the-top affair of expensive marble, semi-precious stones and monuments of six dukes which took some 200 years and a ridiculous amount of money to complete. Underneath this is a crypt where most of the dynasty are actually entombed, and a large collection of religious reliquaries (which I was able to take some bad, quick snaps of).
Attached to that is a smaller chapel (the New Sacristy) designed by Michelangelo, completed by Vasari, and containing Mike’s “Day and Night" and “Dusk and Dawn” for the tombs of two minor dukes. There were supposed to be additional sets of figures for the sepulchers of two of the more notable ancestors but were never completed. These male/female pairs lounging languidly under representations of a son and grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent are typical of the sculptor’s penchant for heavily muscular physiques regardless of their sex: poor “Dawn" and “Night" look like fellas with botched silicone jobs.
Entry to the chapels is included on both the Firenze Card and Friends of the Uffizi pass, or tickets many be purchased at the door. Do be aware that the church of San Lorenzo is NOT included on these passes/tickets and has its own separate entrance/fee.
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