The Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee) belong to the complex of the Florentine church of San Lorenzo, designed by Brunelleschi in the fifteenth century.
Built by Michelangelo and Buontalenti between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they are the mausoleum and burial place of the Medici family.
The New Sacristy (Sacrestia Nuova) and the Chapel of the Princes (Cappella del Principi) are the main rooms of the museum, and are accessible by a separate entrance at the back of the church of San Lorenzo.
The New Sacristy, so named to distinguish it from the old one by Brunelleschi in the church (the other famous chapel designed by Brunelleschi and the Pazzi Chapel in Florence is located in the complex of Santa Croce), was designed and built by Michelangelo from 1519 to house the tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici, which were decorated with his wonderful sculptures.
The construction of this impressive building coincided with one of the most difficult periods in the history of Florence, marked by the expulsion of the Medici and the siege of the Republic of Florence (1530).
Before leaving Florence for Rome, where he plans to address the construction of the dome of St. Peter, Michelangelo created for the Medici Chapels some of his most beautiful sculptures: the four Parts of the Day (Dusk, Day, Dawn and Night) that are part of the monument funeral of Giuliano de’ Medici, and the stunning Medici Madonna.
The Chapel of the Princes with its crypt is the proper burial place of members of the Medici family: Buontalenti embellished it with marble and precious stones, using the commesso fiorentino (Florentine mosaic) technique and creating a real jewel of Florentine architecture.
Here there are the tombs of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1389-1464), first lord of Florence and pater patriae, Grand Duke Cosimo II, Ferdinand I and his wife Christina of Lorraine, Giovanni delle Bande Nere, Prince Lorenzo and Cardinal Leopoldo, all prominent figures of Florentine history.
The museum is open all year round from Monday to Sunday, from 8.15 am to 1.50 pm
Closed: on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, on first, third and fifth Monday of the month, New Year, May 1st, December 25th
Full price: 6,00 €
Reduced: 3,00 € (children aged 18 to 25 years, school teachers)
Free admission: children under 6 years old, disabled people and their helpers, authorized tour guides and leaders, teachers accompanying school groups
The cost of the ticket may vary during special events or thematic exhibitions.