An interesting art detour in Florence will take you to the Medici Chapels Museum. Part of the complex of San Lorenzo, the chapels commissioned by the powerful Medici family for their personal use give a glimpse of the status and prestige of the family, as well as the times in which they ruled.

The Cappelle Medicee formed the religious "seat" for the family, who dwelled in the nearby Medici-Riccardi Palace. Michelangelo was commissioned in 1520 to design and sculpt the decorative sarcophogi for the mausoleum in the New Sacristy. Cardinal Giulio de Medici, who would become Pope Clemens VII) wanted monumental tombs for Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother, Giuliano. The sarcophogi were completed in 1533. Michelangelo's allegories of Dusk and Dawn, and Day and Night, along with the charming Madonna with Child are not to be missed.

The overall scheme of Cappelle Medicee was based on a design by Brunelleschi with a huge dome capping the octagonal structure called the Chapel of the Princes. The interior of the chapel is inlaid with marble and other semi-precious stone with ducal tombs in each of the eight niches. There is a crypt for minor members of the Medici family. Together, the chapel, the crypt and sacristy form the museum and the "Medici wing" of the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

The Medici Chapels are open from 8:15 AM til 6:00 PM. Closed on some Sundays and Mondays.

Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!

Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Medici Chapels Museum? Ask them here!

Address in Florence:

Piazza di San Lorenzo.

Explore handpicked holiday lettings in Florence.