Here’s another one where I had to keep the lens cap on but which may now allow photography:
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.
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.
The highlight of the tour is the Chapel of the Magi, the Medici family’s private chapel with frescoes by Gozolli. In these frescoes, you can see the Medici family immortalized as part of the procession heading around the room with the three kings (Lorenzo, Cosimo’s grandson and future leader of Florence, is actually portrayed as one of the kings) as they head towards Mary and baby Jesus at the altar. This seems rather pretentious, but perfectly acceptable in a private chapel (but it wouldn’t be acceptable in a public church). The frescoes themselves are fantastic and show a delight in nature with all the trees and animals. In the procession are many famous people including the Medici.
This chapel was expensive! Not only for the commission for the fresco, but the marble and the carved wood stalls. This room alone is worth a visit to the Medici Palace.
Visits to the Chapel of the Magi are limited due to the smallest of the space – only ten visitors every 7 minutes are allowed in the room. Absolutely no photos in the Chapel but the rest of the palace photos are allowed with no flash.
Open weekdays and holidays from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, closed Wednesdays.
NOTE: The photo with this tip was taken from Wiki Commons and is in the public domain; therefore, it has no copyright. I did not take this photo.
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 :)
Part of the Church of San Lorenzo, this is where all the members of the famed Medici Dynasty are buried. Completed in 1524, 2 parts, the New Sacrisity and Chapel of the Princes are where some of the best known members rest. Michelangelo himself worked on several of the tombs, including fabulous sculptures. Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Guiliano and buried together. Also here is the Tomb of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino and that of Guiliano, Duke of Nemours, who was the son of Lorenzo il Magnicico.
Though part of San Lorenzo, a seperate ticket is required for the Medici Chapels.
Sorry, no pictures. Photography is not permitted inside. Also at the time, renovation work was being undertaken in the Chapel of the Princes.
The Medici Chapels were built as a personal sepulchre of the Medici family right in the basilica of San Lorenzo. The project of building a proper family mausoleum was conceived in 1520, when Michelangelo started working at the New Sacristy upon request of Cardinal Giulio de'Medici, the future Pope Clemens Vll, who expressed the desire to erect a mausoleum on behalf of some members of his family.
Entrance: € 6,00
La capilla de los medice fue construida como sepulcro personal de la familia del mismo nombre en la basilica de San Lorenzo. El proyecto de construir el mausoleo familiar fue concebido en 1520, cuando Michelangelo empezó a trabajar en la nueva sacristía bajo la petición del cardenal Guilio de Medici, el futuro papa Clemente VII quién expresó su deseo de construir un mausoleo en nombre de alguno de los miembros de su familia.
Entrda: € 6,00
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.
The entrace to the Medici Chapel is located just behind San Lorenzo. The crypts and the sculptures by Michaelangelo are impressive. There was a lot of restoration going on while we were there, so it was more difficult to appreciate.
The Medici Chapels were built as a personal sepulchre of the Medici family right in the basilica of San Lorenzo, the one considered by the Medici as their private church and located in front of the residential palace in via Larga (presently via Cavour). The cardinal Giulio de' Medici, the future Clemente VII, and Leone X, in 1520, involved Michelangelo Buonarroti in the project of the Sacrestia Nuova: or better of a chapel en pendant with the Sacrestia Vecchia by Filippo Brunelleschi, where distinguished members of the family would be buried.
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.
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.
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!