San Lorenzo, Florence

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  • San Lorenzo
    San Lorenzo
    by croisbeauty
  • San Lorenzo
    San Lorenzo
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  • San Lorenzo
    San Lorenzo
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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The church of the Medici

    by Jefie Updated Jun 30, 2010

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    The unfinished facade of San Lorenzo
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    Construction of this church originally designed by Brunelleschi began in the early 1420s and it was to last throughout most of the 15th century. One of the major problems encountered was the lack of funding but in 1442 the Medici family decided to finance the construction of San Lorenzo since the church was located in their parish. The special connection between the Medici and San Lorenzo turned out to be a lasting one since several members of the family are buried in what has become known as the Medici chapel.

    One thing that is rather striking about San Lorenzo is that its facade is completely bare. Michelangelo did submit a design, but for some reason the work never got done. There's been talk in recent years of finishing the facade according to Michelangelo's plans, but no decision has yet been made. The church itself is often described as an early model of Renaissance architecture that is believed to have inspired many artists who later on refined and perfected the style.

    The church of San Lorenzo is another one of those cases in Florence where you need to buy multiple tickets if you want to see the entire complex. The one we bought gave us access to the church itself, since that's what we were most interested in, but we didn't find out until we were already inside that it didn't give us access to the Medici chapel, which was pretty disappointing, nor could we see Michelangelo's famous staircase leading to the Laurentian Library. In any case, we did get to see the cloisters, the crypt and the church. San Lorenzo's elongated nave is rather sober in style, but the church does hold some remarkable paintings as well as several tombs of the Medici, including some beautiful ones designed by Donatello.

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  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    San Lorenzo

    by croisbeauty Updated Sep 26, 2011

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    San Lorenzo
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    The church of San Lorenzo is the oldest in the city, consecrated by San Ambroggio in 393. It was rebuilt along Romanesque lines in 1060. The present building, however, dates from 1423 and was designed by great Brunelleschi. The simple bare facade lasks the marble covering, designed by Michelangelo but never carried out. The internal facade, also designed by Michelangelo, is comprised of three doors between two pilasters with garlands of oak and laurel, and a balcony on two corinthian columns. There are number of outstanding works of art inside the church by Filippo Lippi, Donatello, Andrea del Verrochio and many others. The most valuable, however, is the Old Sacristy built by Brunelleschi between 1419 and 1428. It was built before the church and is the first example of Renaissance architecture of Brunelleschi.
    The huge complex of Medici Chapels, containing the Medici family tombs, is attached to the back of the church. The interior is octagonal in plan, entirely lined with semiprecious stone and marble in Baroque style.

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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    Church of San Lorenzo

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 26, 2004

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    San Lorenzo Facade (from net)

    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

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  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo

    Visit San Lorenzo Market at Dawn

    by RoscoeGregg Updated Oct 11, 2009

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    The Market that surrounds San Lorenzo is a hoot during the day when it is jammed with people. I think it is great for people watching.

    I love to get up early and that led to my next tip.

    I recommend you get a café and a little bread or sweetie and head down to watch the vendors set up. The old city is at it’s sweetest in the cool of morning. The air is clear and calm. The vendors do not have their game face on and are just working and having fun.

    The banter is outrageous. The crowds of people are missing and you get that rare glimpse of Florentine vendors just being themselves. It is a great way to experience Florence not just collect sights on a list. This type of thing that is most memorable for me when I return home. I hope it will be for you too.

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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    San Lorenzo Market

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 26, 2004

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    San Lorenzo Bazaar

    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...

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  • cpiers47's Profile Photo

    Mercato San Lorenzo

    by cpiers47 Updated Apr 22, 2008

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    I'll let this tip be limited to the market of San Lorenzo. . .although the church is amazing as well. On my first trip to Florence, this market was one of my favorite places, when I lived there, we walked through infrequently and actually often walked behind the stalls to avoid the hassle. This past spring, I found myself almost disliking the market. . .

    Positives: It's a great place to find souveniers and gifts at reasonable prices. There's a lot of selection and a lot of competition, so if you keep looking, you may find the same scarf, wallet, etc. at a lower price.

    Negatives: It's loud and the vendors can be pushy. The default language is English, and I felt like I could be anywhere in the world.

    Summary? I'll go there when I need a good gift, but it's not my favorite Florentine experience.

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  • m-joy's Profile Photo

    San Lorenzo

    by m-joy Written Jul 11, 2004

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    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.

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  • bpwillet's Profile Photo

    San Lorenzo

    by bpwillet Written Feb 22, 2004

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    Interior San Lorenzo

    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.

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  • geeyook's Profile Photo

    San Lorenzo Church

    by geeyook Written Jul 18, 2004

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    San Lorenzo Church

    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.

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    The "unwelcoming" haunt of the Medicis

    by Tijavi Updated May 31, 2009

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    Michelangelo did submit plans for the facade
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    Billed as the official parish church of the Medicis, San Lorenzo seemed very promising in the beginning, but failed to deliver. Sure the church's treasures are there like the Capelle Medicee (which is accessible through reservations only), the pulpits by Donatello, the Biblioteca and the Old Sacristy designed by Brunesllechi and decorated by Donatello - but many of these were close to the public at the time of my visit (except for the Capelle Medicee which could be visited through reservations, I concede). Add to these are the unwelcoming and unfriendly staff (they seem to despise tourists here especially those with cameras hanging over their necks!) and you've got a perfect recipe for an unpleasant experience.

    It's advisable to skip this unwelcoming church; time (as well as money) is better spent in Sta Croce.

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  • micajo's Profile Photo

    Basilica San Lorenzo

    by micajo Written Mar 6, 2007

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    It is one of the largest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city's main market district, and the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo III. It is one of several churches that claim to be the oldest in Florence. For three hundred years it was the city's cathedral before the official seat of the bishop was transferred to Santa Reparata. San Lorenzo was also the parish church of the Medici family. The church is part of a larger monastic complex that contains other important architectural works: the Old Sacristy by Brunelleschi; the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo; the New Sacristy based on Michelangelo's designs; and the Medici Chapels by Matteo Nigetti.

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  • paoseo's Profile Photo

    The Basilica pf San Lorenzo n°1

    by paoseo Written Aug 28, 2006

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    The Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St Lawrence) is one of the largest churches of Florence situated at the centre of the city’s main market district. It was consecrated in 393 and is one of the many churches that claims to be the oldest in Florence. For three hundred years it was the city's cathedral before eventually losing the status to Santa Reparata. It was also the parish church of the Medici family. In 1419, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici offered to finance a new church to replace the Romanesque building. Brunelleschi was commissioned to design it. The Medicis gave large amounts of money, but to this day nobody has financed a façade. Pope Leo X, a member of the Medici family, had given Michelangelo the commission to design a facade in white Carrara marble in 1518. He made a wooden model, that shows how he adjusted the classical proportions of the facade, drawn to scale after the ideal proportions of the human body, to the greater height of the nave . The campanile dates from 1740.
    The Renaissance interior is huge, cool and airy and is lined with chapels. Opening off the north transept is the Old Sacristy, the oldest part of the present church, which contains the tombs of several members of the Medici family. It was the only part of the church completed in Brunelleschi's lifetime. Opposite it in the south transept is the New Sacristy begun in 1520 by Michelangelo, who also designed the Medici tombs within.
    We can however recognise at San Lorenzo all the elements of renaissance architecture, that are here employed for the first time in a large-scale religious building. We enter an architectural space conceived in the modern manner, with total legibility of construction.
    The legibility of the architectural space, based on the alternation of grey and white, the mathematical and geometrical proportions between the various portions of the building, and the diffused lighting which creates no areas of deep shadow, confer on the architectural space of S. Lorenzo and exceptional harmonious beauty.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    More dead Medici

    by goodfish Updated Apr 1, 2014

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    San Lorenzo is connected to the Medici Chapels but has a separate entry fee and access door.

    This is at least the third version of a church built on this site. The original was built in the 4th century with a second restructure occurring in the 11th and again in the 15th. It was to feature a collection of chapels bestowed upon the most influential families of Florence at the time but the Medici - who had a palace nearby and whom also commissioned the overhaul - eventually determined that it should be primarily a dynastic mausoleum for their noble descendants. Giovanni di Bicci de’Medici, patriarch of the family which was to become the most wealthy and powerful influence in Florence for nearly 300 years, engaged Filippo Brunelleschi to design the new church and an adjoining burial chapel. The great architect, with contributions from Donatello, was able to finish the smaller space but died before constructing much of the basilica itself. Work stuttered along for another 50 years under the hands and plans of several other architects before finally being completed in the late 1400’s.

    The facade, entrusted to Michelangelo in 1518, was never realized so the rough exterior betrays an airy, uncluttered Renaissance beauty behind its doors. Gionvanni and his wife rest under a table tomb in what’s known as the Old Sacristy, and a large marker in front of the high alter marks the burial place in the crypt below of his son, Cosimo the Elder. Donatello’s monument is nearby in the north transept: see his bronze doors, reliefs and other details in the sacristy, and fantastic pair of bronze pulpits in the basilica.

    Photography is not allowed inside but this website has some very nice shots of the church:

    http://www.digital-images.net/Gallery/Scenic/Florence/Churches/SanLorenzo/sanlorenzo.html

    The website below is the best I can find for checking current entry fees and hours but Italian websites aren't always religiously updated so expect anything to change without notice.

    http://www.visitflorence.com/florence-churches/san-lorenzo.html

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    san lorenzo

    by doug48 Updated Jul 29, 2006

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    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.

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  • Shopping

    by ILoveFlorence Written May 23, 2008

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    San Lorenzo Market is the place to be for Leather. You can bargain at the outdoor market, and get some deals. They have a huge selection of Jackets, belts and leather goods. The market does have, unfortunately, some fake products made by Chinese and then stamped "Florence" so choose wisely. It's not too difficult to tell when something is made in China. Look for quality and look for the details: the lining, the finishing, the accessories. If you are looking for the AUTHENTIC Italian real deal- go to Monom for bags and accessories. It's on Via Borgo la Noce 15r next to the San Lorenzo Market. It's near the famous restaurant Za-Za. Have lunch at Za-Za and then stop to see the beautiful, one-of-a-kind, latest Florentine fashion bags and purses. They have a large selection and even give some discounts. If you are a student, you will get a 20% discount. Go check it out!

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