Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

Lonely Planet review

Beyond the basilica ticket office lie peaceful cloisters framing a pretty garden with buxom orange trees. Stairs lead up to the loggia and the Biblioteca Laurenziana Medicea, commissioned by Giulio de' Medici (Pope Clement VII) in 1524 to house the extensive Medici library (started by Cosimo the Elder and greatly added to by Lorenzo il Magnifico).

The extraordinary staircase in the vestibule, intended as a 'dark prelude' to the magnificent Sala di Lettura (Reading Room), was designed in by Michelangelo.