Florence and the Medici Family
Learn the social history of the Florentine Renaissance through the eyes of the Medici family, with visits to the Medici Chapel and more.
- Admire the Medici’s family church of San Marco
- Explore Palazzo Medici Riccardi with its frescoed Magi Chapel
- Visit the Church of San Lorenzo and see the wonderful Medici Chapels
- Learn about the Michelangelo’s New Sacristy with its family tombs
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Renaissance Art and History with the Medici Family
The Medici, a powerful banking family that rose to prominence during the 15th century, were generous art patrons. Your private English speaking guide from Italy’s Best will take you on a Medici tour that explores the Medici family and the relationship between their political power and generosity towards art.
Begin your tour at Palazzo Medici Riccardi, one of the family’s main residences that was at one time a temporary home for Michelangelo. Don’t let the rustic exterior fool you! Enter and take in the classical elegance such as the Renaissance courtyard; the Magi Chapel with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli; and the Luca Giordano decorated Baroque room. The palace served as an archetype for other Florentine residences built by wealthy merchants and bankers. Next walk through the bustling street market to the Church of San Lorenzo and see Brunelleschi‘s Old Sacristy with pulpits designed by Donatello as well as the the Laurenthian Library with Michelangelo’s elegant staircase. The Church of San Lorenzo served as Florence’s Cathedral until the 8th century and in the 1400s, the Medici family commissioned a rebuilding of the entire church in the new Renaissance style, which became their private church, where baptisms, weddings and funerals of the family were held.
Michelangelo and the Medici Chapels
Brunelleschi’s Old Sacristy is a masterpiece of the early Florentine Renaissance, known for its geometric architecture inspired by Classical Roman buildings. The Medici’s private burial chapel features works from some of the greatest Renaissance artists: Donatello, who made the painted stucco roundels decorating the vault and the bronze gates, a funerary monument to Piero and Giovanni de’ Medici sculpted by Andrea del Verrocchio. Leonardo da Vinci, a pupil of Verrocchio, reproduced the large sarcophagus, in his Annunciation which is on display in the Uffizi Gallery. After Brunelleschi’s death in 1446, Antonio Manetti Chiaccheri took over the completion of the Basilica, who made changes to the original plan leaving the Old Sacristy as the only remaining Brunelleschi work.
Lastly to cap our Medici tour, visit the Medici Chapels, the private mausoleum of the Medici Grand Dukes, and see Michelangelo’s New Sacristy built between 1520 and 1555 and his incomplete tombs, which depict two Medici dukes as classical Roman warriors as well as powerful personifications of Dusk and Dawn, Day and Night.