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Piazza San Lorenzo

Piazza San Lorenzo:

with its lively market, is named after the Basilica of the same name. The entrance to the cloisters and to the Biblioteca Mediceo Laurenziana, designed by Michelangelo, opens onto the square. On the right there is the statue of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, the father of Cosimo I. The statue was made by Bandinelli. On the east side, the back of Palazzo Medici Riccardi can be seen, built on a long, protruding base which is used as a bench to rest and to admire the surrounding buildings.

The Basilica di San Lorenzo:

is one of the city's most important churches. It was completely rebuilt in 1419 based on a design drawn up by Filippo Brunelleschi. This is one of his more typical works, with a light interior, a nave and two aisles . The facade of the church, however, was never completed: Pope Leo X commissioned Michelangelo to create a facade in 1518. The artist made a wood model of a classical facade, but the work was never done. The small bell tower, however, dates back to 1740. Michelangelo's Sacrestia Nuova (New Sacristy) was added in 1520-1534, while the large dome of the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes) was constructed at the end of the fifteen hundreds to house the tomb of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The Cappelle medicee (Medici Chapels):

are used as a Florentine state museum and the burial place of the Medici family. The two main parts are extensions of the apse of the Basilica: Michelangelos New Sacristy and the large Chapel of the Princes, completely coated by marble and semi-precious stones, where the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and their families are buried; the visit also includes certain rooms of the crypt (designed by Buontalenti) under the Chapel of the Princes.

The San Lorenzo Market:

is certainly worth visiting. The lively market is situated around the Basilica di San Lorenzo and at the Mercato Centrale. It winds along Via dell'Ariento, Piazza San Lorenzo, Via del Canto de' Nelli, Via Sant'Antonino, Via Panicale, and into Piazza del Mercato Centrale. It can be considered the most important market of the city and is held every day except Sunday and Monday. The market sells clothes and many leather goods, as well as souvenirs and gifts for those who wish to take home a memento of their visit to Florence.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi:

was commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio (Cosimo the Elder), first to Brunelleschi, then to Michelozzo, who built a square shaped palace with an imposing but sober and austere appearance, around a square central courtyard with Corinthian columns. The Palace is situated at the crossroads of Via Larga (now Via Cavour) and Via de' Gori, very near the churches of San Lorenzo and San Marco and the Cathedral (Duomo). The facade is a masterpiece of sobriety and elegance, and its interior is rich with decorations, such as the Cappella dei Magi (Chapel of the Magi), which was the family’s private chapel, constructed in 1450. On the three main walls of the Chapel, the Cavalcata dei Magi (the Procession of the Magi) is depicted; the figures of the religious painting are, in fact, portraits of the young Lorenzo il Magnifico (Lorenzo the Magnificent), his father Piero il Gottoso (Piero the Gouty), and Cosimo il Vecchio (Cosimo the Elder).

Photo: www.francolori.it

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