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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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The story of the construction of the Medici family's mausoleum

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The Medici chapels are the mausoleum of the noble family that ruled the city of Florence and Tuscany for about three centuries (except for some brief interruptions).

medici chapels-cosimo-the-elderThe family was  originally from the village of Cafaggiolo in the Mugello. After hearing about the opportunities that trade offered, some of its members emigrated to Florence, perhaps in the 12th century. Here, over the centuries, they became economically and politically important. In fact, three popes and two queens of France were members of this noble family.

The Medici worked in the commercial and banking fields, and some of them were patrons. Like other important families (Gonzaga, Sforza, Este, Della Rovere), they decided to commission their own mausoleum and had the Medici chapels built.

The Medici Chapels are located inside the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and are accessible from Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini. Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, his wife Maria Salvati, Cosimo the Elder, Francis I, Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici and other members of the family are all buried in this place.

The Medici Chapels are four: the New Sacristy, the Chapel of the Princes, the Crypt and the Lorenese Crypt.

The New Sacristy was designed and built by Michelangelo Buonarroti, on commission of cardinal Giulio de Medici and pope Leo X. However, it was Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giorgio Vasari who completed the building.

The Medici chapels have a coffered cupola with a lantern with composite columns. Inside you can admire the two tombs of Lorenzo Duke of Urbino and Giuliano Duke of Nemours. In addition to the funeral monuments, there are also the sculptures made by Michelangelo: Medici Madonna, Dawn, Night, Day and the portraits of Lorenzo  and Giuliano.

Architect Matteo Nigetti planned and built the Chapel of the Princes, which was completed in the 1960s. It is the building with the second biggest dome in Florence. The Opificio delle pietre durea public institute of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage based in Florence, made the interior of the chapel using coral, alabaster, quartz, porphyry, lapis lazuli, granite and mother-of-pearl. On the walls you can see the coats of arms of the cities that were part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Cappelle-medicee-persone-sepolte

The Medici Grand Dukes, their wives and close relatives are all buried inside the crypt, which is the first place you can reach from the entrance.

The Lorenese Crypt is located between the funerary monument of Cosimo the Elder and the Medici burial ground. It is the place where some members of the Lorraine family are buried. It was commissioned by Grand Duke Leopold II, and designed by the architect Emilio De Fabris.

The chapels can be reached by taxi or the ATAF C1 bus line.

Copyright photo of the article: wikipedia, www.gogofirenze.it

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