Medici Chapels Museum - Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6 - Florence
The Medici Chapels Museum is part of the museum pole of the Bargello Museums which includes the Bargello Museum, Orsanmichele, Palazzo Davanzati and Casa Martelli.
The Medici Chapels have been a state museum since 1869 and are part of the Church of San Lorenzo complex, of which they preserve part of the Treasury made up of sacred vestments and reliquaries. They consist of the New Sacristy, the Chapel of the Princes and the Crypt; all places that house the tombs of the Medici family and a sculptural apparatus designed and created by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Tickets available: Medici Chapels skip-the-line ticket.
Works of art in the various rooms of the Medici Chapels Museum in Florence
The Collection of the Medici Chapels Museum collects sculptural works from the Renaissance.
The Medici Chapels are the monumental mausoleum of the Medici family, who ruled Florence from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti and built between 1521 and 1534.
It consists of the Crypt, which preserves the body of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, father of Cosimo I, and his wife; the upper Chapel of the Princes which houses the funeral monument to Cosimo the old "Pater Patriae" and finally the New Sacristy which houses the sepulchres of Giuliano de' Medici, duke of Nemours, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and of Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino, nephew of Lorenzo. The remains of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano de' Medici rest on the floor in the centre.
The sculptures of the New Sacristy are by Michelangelo and are the Allegories of Time; the tomb of Giuliano presents the statues of Day and Night; that of Lorenzo the Twilight and the Dawn. In the center of the hall Michelangelo arranged his Madonna Medici.
Masterpieces of the Medici Chapels Museum
– Michelangelo Buonarroti: Allegories of Time: Day, Night, Twilight, Dawn.
– Michelangelo Buonarroti: Medici Madonna
Visit itinerary and works of the Medici Chapels
The itinerary of the Medici Chapels starts from the crypt where the gravestones of the grand dukes and their families are inserted in the floor. Here is also the tomb of Ludovico di Giovanni de' Medici also known as Giovanni delle Bande Nere, father of Cosimo I.
Via two stairways you reach the Cappella dei Principi commissioned by Cosimo I, an octagonal-plan room surmounted by the dome of San Lorenzo, and placed above the crypt. The room is a triumph of Florentine mosaic or hard-stone mosaic, a technique which according to Vasari created "stone paintings" and which was developed in Florence at the behest of Cosimo I's son, Ferdinando I, the true creator of the Chapel of the Princes and also creator of the famous Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
The room is thus composed of different stones but porphyry and granite predominate. The plinth bears the coats of arms of the sixteen Tuscan cities that were faithful to the Medici family, composed with colored stones, mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli and coral. In the niches there are the statues of Ferdinando I and Cosimo II, created by the sculptor Pietro Tacca.
The tombs are those of Cosimo I (1519-1574), his son Francesco I (1541-1587) and his great-grandson Cosimo III (1643-1723) but do not contain the remains of the Medici who are all buried in the crypt.
A corridor then leads to the New Sacristy, an extension of the apse of the basilica designed by Michelangelo himself which was built between 1521 and 1534, where there are the tombs of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and of Lorenzo de' Medici Duke of Urbino, nephew of Lorenzo. Here Michelangelo designed the Allegories of Time, arranging them above the tombs, and the overlying portraits of the Dukes. Julian's tomb features the statues of Day and Night; for that of Lorenzo the Twilight and the Dawn. In the center of the room Michelangelo placed his Madonna Medici, a composition of great dynamism, below which rest the remains of the two brothers who were protagonists of Renaissance Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de' Medici, who died in the Pazzi conspiracy.
In fact, Michelangelo left the project in place in 1534 as he definitively moved towards Rome, and the sepulchres of the two most famous exponents of the Medici thus remained on paper.
History of the Medici Chapels Museum in Florence
The history of the Medici Chapels Museum begins in 1869 after having been connected for centuries to the Church of San Lorenzo, of which they are part.
The history of the Medici Chapels Museum began in 1869 when it was decided to convert the monumental mausoleum of the Medici family into a state museum. But we can safely say that the museum began to form in 1464, the year of the death of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, progenitor of the Medici dynasty who was the first to be buried in an underground crypt, below the central altar of the ancient Basilica of San Lorenzo (5th century).
From that moment all the Medici wanted to be buried in this place; among them also Lorenzo the Magnificent, the most famous exponent of the family, poet, humanist, patron of the arts and a highly skilled Renaissance politician. Thus for centuries those in command in Florence found burial in the Crypt, a tradition that continued even with the passage of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to the Lorraine dynasty (1749).
How to reach the Medici Chapels Museum in Florence
The Medici Chapels Museum is located in the center of Florence, a few steps from Santa Maria Novella station.
Arrive by train
From Santa Maria Novella Station you can reach it on foot in about 4 minutes (500km) by taking Via Panzani in front of the station and then turning right into Via del Giglio for 200 meters until you reach Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6.
Arrive by bus
The closest bus stop is there Via Panzani.
Arrive by car
The closest car parks are Garage Palazzo Vecchio, Garage dei Tintori, Garage Lungarno (for a fee). They are located just 300 meters on foot from the Uffizi Gallery.