Europe, Italy, Tuscany, Florence, San Lorenzo, Medici Chapel, marble sculpture by Michelangelo, 1524-31, Night, Tomb of Giuliano de' Medici

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Museo delle Cappelle Medicee

Top choice in San Lorenzo & San Marco

Nowhere is Medici conceit expressed so explicitly as in the Medici Chapels. Adorned with granite, marble, semiprecious 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 recreates the soft, indirect sunlight Michelangelo originally intended to illuminate his work.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Lorenzo & San Marco attractions

1. Basilica di San Lorenzo

0.04 MILES

Considered one of Florence's most harmonious examples of Renaissance architecture, this unfinished basilica was the Medici parish church and mausoleum. It…

2. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

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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…

3. Museo di Casa Martelli

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A mooch around this frescoed Renaissance palazzo is tantamount to a fascinating peek behind of the scenes of a noble family of 18th-century bankers,…

4. Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

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Cosimo the Elder entrusted Michelozzo with the design of the family's town house in 1444. The result was this palace, a blueprint that influenced the…

5. Battistero di San Giovanni

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This 11th-century baptistry – the oldest religious building on the vast cathedral square – is a Romanesque, octagonal-striped structure of white-and-green…

6. Palazzo Antinori

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One of Florence's most beautiful 'small' palazzi, this golden abode was built in 1465 for Giovanni Boni, a very rich member of the Money Changing Guild,…

7. Chiesa dei Santi Michele e Gaetano

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This baroque church, with a beautiful sculpted facade on Florence's smartest shopping strip, was built between 1604 and 1648 on the site of an old…

8. Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

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The striking green-and-white marble facade of 13th- to 15th-century Basilica di Santa Maria Novella fronts an entire monastical complex, comprising…