Basilica di San Lorenzo

sights / Religious

Basilica di San Lorenzo information

Florence , Italy
Piazza San Lorenzo
€5, incl Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana €7.50
Opening hours
10am-5.30pm Mon-Sat, plus 1.30-5pm Sun winter
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Considered one of Florence's most harmonious examples of Renaissance architecture, this unfinished basilica was the Medici parish church and mausoleum. It was designed by Brunelleschi in 1425 for Cosimo the Elder and built over an earlier 4th-century church. In the solemn interior look out for Brunelleschi's austerely beautiful Sagrestia Vecchia (Old Sacristy) with its sculptural decoration by Donatello. Michelangelo was commissioned to design the facade in 1518, but his design in white Carrara marble was never executed, hence the building's rough unfinished appearance.

Inside, columns of pietra serena (soft grey stone) crowned with Corinthian capitals separate the nave from the two aisles. Donatello, who was still sculpting the two bronze pulpits (1460–67) adorned with panels of the Crucifixion when he died, is buried in the chapel featuring Fra' Filippo Lippi's Annunciation (c 1450).