Basilica of San Lorenzo and Medici Chapel: Tomb of the Medici Dukes
Medici Chapel is the chapel where the members of the Medici family, the most powerful family living in Florence between the 13th and 17th centuries, are buried. The tombs of all the important members of the Medici family, who increased their influence when they came to Florence, are in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, built in the 15th century.
Medici Chapel, located in Piazza San Lorenzo, is an extension of the Church of San Lorenzo, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The 59-meter-high octagonal structure is a distinctive feature of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in terms of interior and exterior architecture.
The Medici Chapel has been used as a museum since 1869. The museum includes two buildings by Michelangelo, the Sagrestia Nuova and the Cappella del Principi.
The Chapel of the Princes took many years to complete. The walls of the chapel have some of the best mosaics in Florence, and the dome has reenactments of the Old and New Testaments.
Tombs of the Medici Families in Sagrestia Nuova
Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy), where the tombs of various members of the Medici family are located, is a must-see. The Medici tombs were built by Michelangelo, one of the famous artists of the Renaissance period, between 1521 and 1524. Michelangelo, who prepared the tombs with great devotion, completed most of the work and the unfinished work was completed by his students.
One of the monumental tombs is Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, and the other is Giuliano, Duke of Nemours. The seated statues represent the dukes. Lorenzo is the Duke of Urbino, whose face is shadowed by a helmet, and in the group of statues below, the male represents the evening, the female the morning. Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, holding a commander’s staff, in the group of sculptures below, the woman represents night and the man represents day.
The Madonna and her child stand out in the group of three statues in the center. The two people next to her are Cosmas and Damian, the guardians of the Medici family.
In the crypts called The Crypt, there are the tombs of some of the Medici grand ducal family and various treasures belonging to the families with beautiful embroidery, sacred cups, altar pieces, religious objects and bronze statues, including Anna Maria Luisa. King Leo X’s gift to the Basilica of San Lorenzo is also among the artifacts to be seen in the treasure rooms.
Make sure to add Medici Chapel to your list of places to visit in Florence. The museum can be visited for about 1 hour on average.