San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo (26)

Located on the Piazza di Saint Lorenzo, the church of the same name was founded in 393 by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, making it one of the oldest churches in Florence. 

However, the building that you see today is not the original church as, in 1060, the building was rebuilt in Romanesque style, acquiring the category of cathedral. Later, in 1419, the Medici financed a new church, entrusting the project to Filippo Brunelleschi. Construction was delayed for financial reasons on several occasions and the new building was not consecrated until 1461. The façade was never completed.

The interior, however, is a splendid Renaissance masterpiece. Beginning with the beautiful combination of grey stone known as "pietra serena” and white walls. Moreover, in the centre of the church you find two bronze pulpits created by Donatello near the end of his life at 74 years of age. The decoration of the reliefs depicts the Passion and Resurrection of Christ.

If you approach the foot of the altar you'll find a simple stone slab covering the austere tomb by Andrea del Verrocchio where Cosimo the Elder is buried.

You should also visit the beautiful Old Sacristy located on the left transept. Like the rest of the church, it was designed by Brunelleschi, though its decoration is the work of Donatello. This sacristy houses the tombs of the parents and children of Cosimo the Elder. Visitors should also pay attention to the dome, decorated with frescoes that reproduce the night sky and the signs of the zodiac.

Following this you need to pass through the peaceful cloister in order to access the Laurentian, founded in 1524 to house the extensive collection of works of the Medici. However, the most prominent feature of this library is located in the lobby. This is the wonderful staircase designed by Michelangelo, one of the best and most innovative works of architectural mannerism. 

Also, do not forget to visit the New Sacristy, whose entrance is on the Piazza degli Aldobrandini. Here you can see another of Michelangelo's greatest works: the Medici Tombs, where a son and a grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent are buried. The highlights of these tombs are the four funerary figures that adorn them, symbolizing night, day, dawn and sunset. 

To end your tour, head for the Chapel of the Princes and bask in its truly spectacular nature, the decor of which took a long time to complete. Are your prepared for a surprise? The first stone was laid in 1605 and the chapel was not completed until... 1929! All in all, a supremely complex construction that deserves suitable admiration.

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