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Medici Chapels

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 6:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

EUR 12

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Medici Chapels in Tuscany early in the morning to avoid the crowds and fully appreciate the splendor of Michelangelo's sculptures in a more intimate setting. Also, check out the crypt; it's less frequented by tourists and offers a unique perspective on the Medici family's history."

What is Medici Chapels?

The Medici Chapels are a historic and artistic marvel located in Florence, which is the heart of Tuscany. They serve as a mausoleum for the Medici family—the clan that effectively ruled Florence and left an indelible mark on the Renaissance period with their patronage of the arts and sciences. The Chapels are situated just behind the Church of San Lorenzo, another site deeply tied to the Medici legacy.

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The complex consists of two main parts: the New Sacristy, designed by none other than Michelangelo, and the Chapel of the Princes, which is an opulent octagonal chapel adorned with a multitude of semi-precious stones. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the intricacies of these spaces, with Michelangelo's touch gracing tombs and the lavishly decorated domed ceiling of the Chapel of the Princes above you.

History of Medici Chapels

The history of the Medici Chapels begins with the commissioning of Michelangelo in the early 16th century to design a mausoleum for members of the Medici family in the New Sacristy, or Cappella Nuova. His work here includes the famous sculptures 'Dawn and Dusk' and 'Night and Day.' The construction of the Chapel of the Princes, on the other hand, didn't begin until about a century later, intended to exhibit the power and wealth of the Medici Grand Dukes.

The contrast between the two sections of the complex is stark—Michelangelo's designs emphasize restrained elegance and humanist themes, while the Chapel of the Princes showcases the peak of opulence from the late Renaissance period.

Over time, the Medici's influence waned, but the Chapels remained an important symbol of their legacy. Their tombs not only served as an eternal resting place for this powerful family but also as a showcase of Renaissance artistry that continues to draw people from around the world.

Why is Medici Chapels Important?

The significance of the Medici Chapels lies in their embodiment of Renaissance ideals and art. Do remain mindful that these aren't merely resting places for the departed; they are a testament to a family who shaped the cultural and political landscape of Florence and beyond. The Chapels stand as a timeless reminder of the influence the Medici held over the Renaissance, promoting great names like Michelangelo, Donatello, and Brunelleschi.

Moreover, the mix of artistic styles within these spaces tells a story of a changing Florence, from the height of the Renaissance to its more ostentatious Baroque stages. By understanding the history and the art here, we're getting a glimpse into a period that still deeply impacts our own—a nexus from where modern western art, thought, and science began to blossom.

The Medici Chapels are also a study in contrasts, and this is part of what makes them so fascinating to historians and art lovers alike. The duality of subtle, humanist elements juxtaposed against the grandeur of baroque excess can be seen and felt within these walls.

Things to Do & See at Medici Chapels

Once you step into the Medici Chapels, there's so much to take in. Michelangelo's New Sacristy is a must-see, with its sculptural masterpieces that mark the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici. The finesse of these sculptures brings Renaissance artwork into a tangible reality; you might feel as if these figures could awaken from their marble slumber at any moment.

Then there's the Chapel of the Princes—its strikingly different atmosphere commands attention. Its walls shimmer with the hard shine of polished stones and the grand dome, designed by Matteo Nigetti, is a sight to behold. It's so easy to lose time here, absorbing the sheer extravagance of this space.

Aside from marveling at these stunning, historic structures and their contents, visitors can also explore the Lorena Crypt which holds further burials of the Medici family. The dense history here requires time to unpack, so consider joining a guided tour if you want to delve even deeper into the narrative woven into the very stone and art of the Chapels.

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For those with an affinity for craftsmanship, the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee, or Museum of the Medici Chapels, also affords a close look at the funerary vestments and other objects pertaining to the burial rituals of the era. It's these touches that tell us how the Medici viewed themselves in life and in death, opening a window to the soul of the era.

Before you leave, let yourself sit quietly in the pews for a moment to take in the ambiance. There's a special kind of peace that comes with being in the presence of such history and beauty—a serene communion with the past that you'll carry with you long after your visit ends.

Frequently asked questions

What are the Medici Chapels?

The Medici Chapels are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy, that serve as the mausoleum for the Medici family, one of the most powerful and influential families in Tuscany during the Renaissance.

What can visitors see in the Medici Chapels?

Visitors to the Medici Chapels can see the lavish Chapel of the Princes, which houses the tombs of the Medici Grand Dukes, and the New Sacristy, designed by Michelangelo, which contains sculptures by the artist and the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici.

How old are the Medici Chapels?

Construction of the Medici Chapels began in the 16th century, with the New Sacristy being designed by Michelangelo starting in 1520 and the larger Chapel of the Princes being erected in the 17th century.

Do the Medici Chapels require an admission fee?

Yes, there is an admission fee to enter the Medici Chapels. However, fees may vary, and it's recommended to check the official website or contact the ticket office for the most current pricing information.

Are there guided tours available for the Medici Chapels?

Yes, visitors can often participate in guided tours of the Medici Chapels that provide insights into the history of the Medici family, the artistic significance of the chapels, and the work of Michelangelo on the premises.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 6:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

EUR 12

Find it on google maps