Cappella dei Magi
Three-hour walking tours of the city (€42.50) and half-day Chianti trips (€67.50). Reserve by phone or in person at Amici del Turismo.
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Palazzo Medici-Riccardi information
Cosimo the Elder entrusted Michelozzo with the design of the family's townhouse in 1444. The result was this palace, a blueprint that influenced the construction of Florentine family residences such as Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Strozzi for years to come. The upstairs chapel, Cappella dei Magi , houses one of the supreme achievements of Renaissance painting and is an absolute must-see for art lovers.
The tiny chapel is covered in a series of wonderfully detailed and recently restored frescoes (c 1459-63) by Benozzo Gozzoli, a pupil of Fra' Angelico. His ostensible theme of Procession of the Magi to Bethlehem is but a slender pretext for portraying members of the Medici clan in their best light; try to spy Lorenzo il Magnifico and Cosimo the Elder in the crowd. The chapel was reconfigured to accommodate a baroque staircase, hence the oddly split fresco. The mid-15th-century altarpiece of the Adoration of the Child is a copy of the original (originally here) by Fra' Filippo Lippi. Only 10 visitors are allowed in at a time; in high season reserve in advance at the palace ticket desk.
The Medici lived at Palazzo Medici until 1540, making way for the Riccardi family a century later. They gave the palace a comprehensive remodelling and built the sumptuously decorated Sala Luca Giordano , a masterpiece of baroque art, on the 1st floor. Giordano adorned the ceiling with his complex Allegory of Divine Wisdom (1685), a rather overblown example of late baroque dripping with gold leaf and bursting with colour. The palazzo now houses the offices of the Florence Provincial Authority and hosts various temporary exhibitions in its public rooms.