Image by Peter Barritt Getty Images
Nowhere is Medici conceit expressed so explicitly as in the Medici Chapels. Adorned with granite, marble, semi-precious stones and some of Michelangelo's most beautiful sculptures, it is the burial place of 49 dynasty members. Francesco I lies in the dark, imposing Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of Princes) alongside Ferdinando I and II and Cosimo I, II and III. Lorenzo il Magnifico is buried in the graceful Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy), which was Michelangelo's first architectural work.
It is also in the sacristy that you can swoon over three of Michelangelo's most haunting sculptures: Dawn and Dusk on the sarcophagus of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino; Night and Day on the sarcophagus of Lorenzo's son Giuliano (note the unfinished face of 'Day' and the youth of the sleeping woman drenched in light aka 'Night'); and Madonna and Child, which adorns Lorenzo's tomb. Since early 2019 clever new lighting re-creates the soft, indirect sunlight Michelangelo originally intended to illuminate his work.