San Lorenzo, Florence
Very interesting church. This was the first cathedral of Florence, built in the year 393 (!!), and kept this status until the 8th century, when it lost the title to Santa Reparata. In 1418-1419 the Medici family refurbished the basilica (actually making a new church in place of the Romanesque building) and added a chapel - now the most celebrated part of the church - the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee). To this day nobody financed a facade - just look at the picture - I find it very interesting. Inside you can find the tombs of a very large part of the Medici family.
another beautiful church to visit in florence is san lorenzo, the church of the medici family. some highlights are, michelangelo's staircase, michelangelo's medici tombs, and donatello's pulpits. a couple of fine works of art are annigoni's "st. joseph and christ in the work shop", and bronzino's "martyrdom of st. lawerence". also, check out the cappella dei principi and it's beautiful marble floor.
San Lorenzo is surrounded by the biggest market in town. The plain outside hides a beautiful interior designed by Brunelleshi, along with two bronze pulpits designed by Donnatello. The church served as the city's cathedral for 3 centuries.
Initially, I thought I was at the Duomo when I found this cathedral. The inside dome was not all that spectacular compared to Brunelleschi's other works. this was designed for the Medici family in 1425-1446.
One of my favorite things to do in Florence is to go shopping in the San Lorenzo Market (Mercato Centrale). Fake designer leather belts and bags, silk scarves and soft wool jerseys can be picked up cheaply- although it is advisable to check the quality before buying. Also a good place to buy goods from local artisans. Nearby stands the covered food market. Bursting with olives, hams, cheeses and fresh vegetables, it is the perfect place to buy a picnic or just indulge.
San Lorenzo was probably the largest market that I had the chance to go visit while in Italy. It reminds me a lot like the markets that you can find in Hong Kong in the streets.
Basically, it is a conglomerate of small vendors that have stalls out in the open market. You can find all sorts of Italian and non-Italian goods. Even in Italy you will find the markets inundated with goods from Asian suppliers or from other European countries. In the San Lorenzo market, they sell tons of leather goods (after all that is what Florence is known for), clothing, scarves, trinkets, glassware, papergoods, etc. If you are looking for it, you probably can find it there.
There were a few things that I really like that I found there. Some of the artisans that paint pictures of Florence sell their craft in the market. You can also find some of them near Pitti Palace if you get to wander over there. I also thought that the leather covered journal I got was a great deal. It was WAY more expensive in the regular shops...if you could even find one there!!!
I liked dealing with one particular vendor on the one corner of San Lorenzo market. You can't miss it. A Korean girl from Australia helps the owners run the stall. She is very engaging and pleasant to speak with. The owners even have a website : www.sanlorenzo-market.com. Anyway, no matter what you do, just check the market out...I am certain you will find something neat to take along home with you!!!
HOURS: Closed Sunday and Monday
After the Duomo, San Lorenzo is the city's second most important church. Founded in the 4th century, the priginal church served as Florence's cathefral for 400 years. In the early 15th century it became the offical church of the Medici family and was entirely rebuilt, to designs by Filippo Brunelleschi. The facade remains unfinished to this day, despite various proposals, including one by Michelangelo.
The Cappelle Medicee, the family mausoleum of the Medici, consists of three distinct parks, the crypt, the Cappella dei Principi and Sagrestia Nuova. The end result was so spectacular that the Medici family used the chapel to receive foreign ambassadors and hold marriage cermonies.
This lovely area recalls Florence in its prime, when Cosimo de' Medici was king and cultural creativity abounded. San Lorenzo Basilica was begun by Brunelleschi in 1425 and is regarded as one of the city's purest Renaissance churches.
The eastern façade is especially interesting, as it is sparsely decorated and reveals the antique brickwork. It was the Medici family's parish church, and many of the members of the family are buried here. Donatello designed the bronze pulpits, and he is buried in one of the chapels. Passing through the cloister, you reach the Laurenziana Library, commissioned to house the family's huge collection of books and featuring a sublime staircase by Michelangelo. The Medici Chapels are sumptuously decorated with precious marble and semiprecious stones; the most powerful Medicis were buried here. The New Sacristy was designed by Michelangelo and contains his Night and Day, Dawn and Dusk sculptures.
Dating back to the 4th century, it is the oldest church in Florence. The current Renaissance style church was built in the early 14th century by Brunelleschi. The facade of the church is unfinished because the Michelangelo designs were never completed. The stark facade is not indicative of the fabulous interior and masterpieces inside. Adjacent to the church is the Canons' Cloister and Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana which house manuscripts collected by church elder Cosimo Medici.
This church was finished in 393 but was completely renewed by Brunelleschi in the 15th century. He managed to create a very special atmosphere by a great architectural spatiality and a mixture of the colours white and grey for the static elements. Though the interior is bright and plain, the structural and architectural elements give you the impression of great harmony and beauty, especially the marble floor.
The entry costs 2 Euro.
Okay, so they never got around to finishing the facade. Personally, that's what I like about it. Besides, who needs it with such a beautiful interior designed by Brunelleschi? You can't tell by looking at the outside, but inside you'll find intricate details and golden accents throughout. Brilliant!
Just a few steps outside of the Church of San Lorenzo lies a massive and crazy market. Here you can buy anything you could possibly want: leather jackets, souvenirs, food, shoes, belts, hats, etc. All are of the knock-off, Prada becomes Prado type, but for a few Euros, you get what you pay for. Still when faced with going to the Ferragamo or Zegna store for a belt or coming here... I'm going to have to go with San Lorenzo for the time being. Maybe I should get a job...
The Church of San Lorenzo stands out from most of the other churches in Florence because it has an ugly, rough, unfinished exterior. Inside, the church is much more in harmony with the other churches of Florence. There are two alters done by Donatello. The church is next to the Medici Chapel and close to the Mercato Centrale and Duomo. Take the time to see this church if you view any of these other sights, but don't make a trip solely to see this church.
Open Mon-Sat 10-17:00
Consecrated by St. Ambrose in 393, it is the oldest church in the city. It was rebuilt in the Romanesque style in 1060. The present building dates to 1423 and was designed and built by Brunelleschi. The front facade was to be designed by Michelangelo but it never was accomplished. Once the parish church of the Medici family, becoming their mausoleum up to the time of the last of their family line. The interior has a nave separated from the side aisles by Corinthian columns and the ceiling is decorated with gilded rosettes. Many Renaissance namesakes have contributed to the magnificence of the San Lorenzo interior. The entrace to the Medici Chapel is from the outside and contains the tombs of the Medici family.
The entrance is through the incomplete facade.
Right in front of the Basilica there are some large steps leading to Piazza San Lorenzo.
This is, in my opinion, one of the best places (for a backpacker) to spend an afternoon.
When I was there, there were many young people some of them were playing football.
This is a nice place to interact with locals.