The Medici Chapels, tucked into the 15th-century Basilica di San Lorenzo in Florence’s historic center, are home to two of Michelangelo’s famous sculptural masterpieces. Built as mausoleums for members of the Medici family, the Medici Chapels include New Sacristy and the larger Chapel of the Princes.
The powerful Medici family commissioned Brunelleschi to design the Florentine basilica of San Lorenzo in the 1400s. Today the Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee) are what most visitors come to see. The New Sacristy houses tombs carved by Michelangelo to depict the reclining figures of Night and Day and Dawn and Dusk. The ornate domed Chapel of the Princes contrasts with colorful marble and semiprecious stone and is filled with carved niches, statues, and armorial plaques.
The Medici Chapels are among the most popular attractions in the city, and booking a Medici Chapels tour that includes skip-the-line entrance tickets to the chapels and crypts is essential to avoid the entrance lines. Many Florence sightseeing walking tours and shore excursions also visit highlights such as Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell'Accademia), and Piazzale Michelangelo.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tickets to the Medici Chapel Museum in the Basilica of San Lorenzo include entrance to the two chapels, Medici and Lorenese crypts, and Basilica Treasury.
- There is wheelchair access to both the ground-floor crypts and the chapels above.
- To enter the church, you must wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
- Large bag and backpacks must be left at the free coat check at the entrance.
How to Get There
The Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo are located on Piazza San Lorenzo, just a few minutes’ walk north of Florence Cathedral (the Duomo) or east of the Santa Maria Novella train station.
When to Get There
Expect the Medici Chapels in the San Lorenzo Basilica complex to be crowded during summer; visit in spring or fall for fewer tourists. If visiting on a Monday or Sunday, note that the chapels are closed on the second and fourth Sunday and the first, third, and fifth Monday of every month.
The Sumptuous Life of the Medicis
Experience the wealth and power of the Medici family during the Renaissance by visiting the nearby 15th-century Medici Riccardi Palace. Once home to Cosimo de' Medici, today it’s a museum with richly furnished apartments and libraries including the Galleria, with baroque paintings under the frescoed ceiling by Luca Giordano, and the Chapel of the Magi.