The Museum of the Medici Chapels is an interesting historical site nestled in the heart of Florence, in Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini. Born from some areas of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, now part of the Museums of Florence and it owes its great importance to be the burial place of the de’ Medici, the dynasty symbol of political power of the Tuscan capital. It is possible to access the Museum of the Medici Chapels, passing Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini and to enter from the rear of the church. The first room that visitors encounter is the Crypt, which houses the tombs of the Grand Dukes and their family and where we can admire an interesting collection of relics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The Museum of the Medici Chapels is a fascinating place that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history and art of one of the most powerful and influential families of the Italian Renaissance. Its visit is a unique experience, allowing you to admire extraordinary works and understand the importance of the Medici in the history of Florence.

Museum of the Medici Chapels, a journey into the city’s history

Continuing the tour we come to the opulent octagonal setting of the Chapel of the Princes a true masterpiece of art and architecture. This majestic chapel, built over the centuries, houses the remains of as many as five grand dukes of Tuscany. The walls are entirely covered with precious marbles, such as Prato green and Verona red, creating a stunning visual effect. In the center of the chapel stands the majestic sarcophagus of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the founder of the dynasty.

It is topped by the beautiful Dome of San Lorenzo, second in size in the city only to Brunelleschi’s, conceived by Cosimo I and built by architect Matteo Nigetti to a design by Don Giovanni de’ Medici. It is especially striking for its rich inlays in Florentine commesso with the colors of porphyry and granite, an art that reaches its apex here. The Museum of the Medici Chapels houses the tombs for Cosimo I, Cosimo II and Cosimo III, whose bodies are actually kept in hidden rooms in the Buontalenti Crypt. Behind the altar here is an entrance that provides access to a small chamber where precious reliquaries are kept.

The reliquary chamber is a true hidden treasure inside the Medici Chapels. Here one can admire splendid sacred objects, masterfully set in precious silver and gold caskets. Each reliquary holds an ancient and mysterious story, linked to the Medici’s devotion to the saints and martyrs of the Church.

Among the best-known reliquaries is the one dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence. This precious casket holds a small portion of the saint’s bones, donated to the Medici family by Pope Clement VII. The art of the reliquary reaches its zenith here, with finely chiseled details and precious stones shining in the candlelight.

Next to the reliquary of St. John the Baptist is one dedicated to St. Cosimo and St. Damian, the patron saints of the Medici. This casket is adorned with beautiful colored enamels, depicting scenes from the lives of the saints and miracles attributed to them. It is a true masterpiece of goldsmithing, testifying to the devotion and power of the Medici family.

But reliquaries are not the only treasures preserved in this secret chamber. On the walls hang paintings of great value, works by renowned artists such as Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. These paintings depict religious scenes and portraits of members of the Medici family, testifying to their greatness and influence in Renaissance Florence.

The reliquary chamber is a place of great fascination and mystery, allowing you to immerse yourself in the history and art of the Medici. It is a unique, breathtaking experience that allows you to fully appreciate the legacy of this family so important to the city of Florence.

Museum of the Medici Chapels, a piece of Florentine mosaic

The visit to the Museum of the Medici Chapels continues with the New Sacristy, built in the 16th century by Michelangelo, embellished with triumphal arches and monumental sepulchres dedicated to Giuliano Duke of Nemours and his nephew Lorenzo Duke of Urbino and a Madonna with Jesus on her lap placed in the center of the structure. Buried under the altar are Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano de’ Medici. Its beauty and the artist’s mastery are evident in every detail, from the expressions on the faces to the folds of the draperies. Finally, the visit concludes in the Chapel of the Deposits, where the treasures of the Medici family are kept. Here you can admire jewelry, objets d’art and precious manuscripts, evidence of the opulence and refined taste of the Medici. Among the most notable pieces is the famous Medici diamond, a priceless gemstone. The complex can be visited daily from 8:15 am to 4:50 pm. Also part of the complex is the Lorenese Crypt, home to the remains of the Lorraine family and the tomb monument to Cosimo the Elder “Pater Patrie.” Hotel Brunelleschi, located in Piazza Sant’Elisabetta, is perfect for a stay in the city and for discovering the beauty of the Medici site, located just a few meters from the hotel. The Museum of the Medici Chapels is closed every second and fourth Sunday of the month; the first, third and fifth Monday of the month; and on New Year’s Eve, Christmas and May 1.

Travel through the centuries with the Museum of Medici Chapels in Florence

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