Decorative detail from Laurentian Library, by Michelangelo (1475-1564), Florence. Italy, 16th century.

Getty Images/DeAgostini

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

San Lorenzo & San Marco

Beyond the Basilica di San Lorenzo ticket office lie peaceful cloisters framing a garden with orange trees. Stairs lead up the loggia to the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, 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 by Michelangelo.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Lorenzo & San Marco attractions

1. Basilica di San Lorenzo

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2. Museo di Casa Martelli

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3. Museo delle Cappelle Medicee

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4. Palazzo Medici-Riccardi


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5. Battistero di San Giovanni

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6. Cripta Santa Reparata

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7. Campanile

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8. Cupola del Brunelleschi

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