Skip links

The Medici Chapels

Designed by Michelangelo for the Medici family

The complex of the Medici Chapels, now a museum, which can be accessed from the apse of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, includes the sumptuous Mausoleum of the Princes and the Michelangelo’s New Sacristy conceived as a funerary chapel of the Medici family.

The two main parts are extensions of the apse of the basilica and were built by Michelangelo starting from 1519. The grand dukes of Tuscany and their families are buried in the great chapel of the Princes of the following century, completely covered with marble and semi-precious stones. Some rooms of the crypt under the chapel of the Princes are also part of the itinerary, where the bbokshop and the ticket office are located.

During its long history, the Laurentian Medici Complex was separated in its management into the complex of the Basilica, the Medici Library and the Medici Chapels.

Per questa ragione sone necessari 3 biglietti distinti e osservare diversi orari di visita per l’intero complesso.

More about the complex

The Sacristy

Already conceived by Pope Leo X to worthily house the funeral monuments of his father Lorenzo the Magnificent and his uncle Giuliano, together with his brother Giuliano, Duke of Nemours and his nephew Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, the New Sacristy was actually begun only in 1520 by the will of the second. Pope Medici, Clement VII. Michelangelo devoted himself to its construction until 1534, the year of his definitive move to Rome.
Adopting the architectural model of the Old Sacristy, he built a cubic environment surmounted by a hemispherical dome in which the architectural elements are highlighted by the use of pietra serena. The space, however, is animated by a new plastic concept where the two-color scheme between the gray stone frame and the plastered surface enhances the drama of the sculptural groups of the two funeral monuments.
In the New Sacristy, Michelangelo’s genius unfolds in all its monumental grandeur.

The chapel of the Princes

Emblematic realization of the Medici self-celebration, the Chapel of the Princes was conceived by Cosimo I as early as 1568, but its construction began under the Grand Duchy of Ferdinand I, when, following a competition held in 1602, Matteo Nigetti was appointed site manager, a position he held until 1650.
The grand dukes wanted to cover the walls of their mausoleum with the most precious and incorruptible materials: polychrome marble and granite, jasper, alabaster and lapis lazuli and even coral and mother of pearl.
The Opificio delle Pietre Dure, founded in 1588 by Ferdinand I, for centuries has dedicated much of its activity to the decoration of the Chapel of the Princes.
The expensive works in fact proceeded extremely slowly, draining the financial resources of the Grand Duchy.
It was Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici, the last heir of a dynasty that would have died out with her, who wanted to give the construction site a decisive acceleration, delivering the last great fruit of Medici patronage to history.

Do you want to visit the Basilca di San Lorenzo Complex?
Find out all the visit information.

Info, timetables and tickets

“If you had not had a body God would have granted you invisible and naked gifts but since your soul is united to the body it is through the sensible things that he bestows spiritual things on you”
S. Giovanni Crisostomo (Omelie su Matteo 82,4)

Welcome greeting