The Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the largest and oldest churches in Florence. The original church actually stood outside the Florence city walls when it was consecrated in 393. Today, San Lorenzo is very much embeded in the center of the city, located in the main market district.
San Lorenzo was the city’s cathedral for three hundred years and the parish church of the Medici family. The ajoining chapel is in fact the burial place of the principal members of the family. The ornate Medici Chapel, containing masterpieces by Michelangelo can be accessed from the apse of the Basilica or from a separate external entrance.
Construction for the ‘new’ church began in 1418, based on the design by Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi is known as one of the founding fathers of Renaissance architecture, and for his greatest lifetime achievement which was the design of the Dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.
Before its completion, Brunelleschi died and his heir and biographer Antonio Manetti took over. In 1459, the church was completed, but chapels along the aisles were still being built into the 1490’s. The outer façade of the church remains incomplete. Michelangelo designed and created a wooden model for a would-be marble façade that was never realized. Michelangelo did however design and build the Laurentian Library.
The Basilica di San Lorenzo is considered to be a milestone in the development of Renaissance architecture, and is of Roman Catholic denomination.
Monday to Saturday 10:00am – 5:30pm (last entrance at 5:00pm)
Price: €7.00 to enter the Church
€9.50 combined ticket for the Church and The Laurentian Library
How To Get There!
Access for tourists is from the left side door when looking at the facade.