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The Medici Chapels, part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in the San Lorenzo district of Florence, comprise the original chapel (designed by Brunelleschi) and two 'add-on' chapels testifying to the wealth, importance and power of the Medici family, the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the family woven into the fabric of Florence.
The first of these is the Sagrestia Nuova, designed by Michelangelo. The second is the Capella dei Principi, which is clad entirely in coloured marble inlaid with semi precious stones; it is the dome of this chapel that will guide you towards the Basilica as you wind your way towards San Lorenzo and its busy street market. The Capella dei Principi attracts some pretty unflinching reviews - monstrous, tasteless, tacky, gaudy ... the adjectives continue in a similar vein ... all of which may seem quite fitting given that this arrogant memorial is for what the Medici family went on to become ... pretty monstrous in themselves.
The Sagrestia Nuova is far more peaceful, calmer, and is home to some of Michelangelo's most famous sculptures. He was supposed to have created 3 or 4 tombs, but only 2 were completed - consequently, the bankroll of much of the Renaissance, Lorenzo the Magnificent, missed out, celebrated merely by an inscription alongside his brother Giuliano on a plain marble slab. Admittedly it is a 'plain marble slab' adorned with Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, but there is no grand tomb for the grandest of all the Medici clan.
Lorenzo's grandson (also Lorenzo) has his tomb on the left wall of the sacristry, and his tomb is decorated with Michelangelo's Dawn and Dusk (male and female respectively), mirrored opposite by Day and Night, again, male and female. It's clear that Michelangelo was not as adept with the female form as David showed him to be with the male; Dawn and Night can be seen as men with less developed musculature and breasts that look like afterthoughts, oddly angled as they are.
The Medici Chapels are open all year round from 08.15AM until 12.00 NOON. You'll need to check your calendar for closing days as the Chapels are closed on the first, third and fifth Monday of every month, as well as the second and fourth Sunday of each month (we've made things easier by blocking these days on the booking calendar). As with many venues in Italy, there are often special exhibitions running, and the ticket price will reflect this.
HOW YOU'LL GET YOUR TICKETS:
To reserve your tickets for the Medici Chapels, just fill out the booking form, supply us with credit card details, and we'll do the rest. There will be no charge whatsoever until we confirm your reservation. We'll then point you to our secure page, where you can print out your entry voucher. Print it out, take it with you and present it at the pre-arranged meeting point. As simple as that!
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