Cappelle Medicee

Address: Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6, Florence, 50129, Italy
Telephone: 055 2388602

- Mid-range


The opulent but gloomy mausoleum of the Medici princes.

Apart from Donatello’s two fabulous bronze pulpits, there’s not much to see behind the rough brick façade of the church of San Lorenzo (open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-1pm). The real treasures here lie round the corner in the adjacent chapels (entered from outside the east end of the church) that house the megalomaniac Medici family’s funerary monuments to themselves.

The most important members of the family are buried in the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes), an opulent octagonal marble monument to death, begun in 1519, that I find one of the most chilling places in Florence.

A small passageway leads from here to the rather less gloomy Sacrestia Nuova (New Sacresty), a striking contrast in its grey pietra serena and white marble, which houses Michelangelo’s celebrated Day and Night and Dawn and Dusk sculptures, made for the tombs of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino and Giuliano, Duke of Nemours -  two more Medici.

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