Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence (must see)

Amidst the hustle-bustle of the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) stands arguably one of the oldest churches in the history of Florence. San Lorenzo is said to date back to the late Roman era and is also the city's largest basilica. Inside, it is as ornate and magnificent as you'd expect for the main worship site and burial ground of the Medici family, although you would not know it by looking at the never-finished façade.

One of the most powerful families in the history of Florence, the Medici family commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to redesign the San Lorenzo with modern Renaissance-style elements, while an elaborate marble façade was left to Michelangelo to complete. Unfortunately, the untimely death of Brunelleschi and Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici led to the project being abandoned much to the humiliation of Michelangelo who did, however, design and build the internal façade, seen from the nave looking back toward the entrances.

Remarkable all throughout, the interiors follow a Renaissance style with white and grey columns and beautiful marble decoration in front of the altar that marks the grave of the first Medici ruler. Along the central nave are the two bronze pulpits by Donatello (his very last works), whose tomb can be found in the crypt along with that of Cosimo I de' Medici. The complex also includes the New Sacristy with Michelangelo's incredible Medici tombs depicting day and night, dusk and dawn, and the 17th-century Chapel of the Princes, also absolutely gorgeous with its huge dome and fresco arrangement.

There is so much to see that time will fly by as you look at the stunning frescos, the delightful dome with its lovely artwork, or explore all the cloisters, small gardens, and the Laurentian Library – another Michelangelo creation. The serenity here is wonderful by itself, and a nice respite from the other, more popular tourist destinations in Florence.

Tip:
Different sections have different doors, and you must show your Florence Card or pay for each individually. The Chapel of the Princes and the New Sacristy (Michaelangelo tombs) are closed after 1:30pm.
The market area around San Lorenzo is very nice, so you might want to have a drink/meal on the piazza in front of the Central Market.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1:30-5pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Florence. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Basilica di San Lorenzo on Map

Sight Name: Basilica di San Lorenzo
Sight Location: Florence, Italy (See walking tours in Florence)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance – during which time he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces the city had ever seen. The most famous of them – the David – was larger than life, and brought a larger-than-life image to the artist. No amount of photos or copies of the statue will do it justice, so to see it with your own...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Florence Introduction Walking Tour

Florence Introduction Walking Tour

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that it was built between two rivers; later, however, this was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Medici Landmarks Walking Tour

Medici Landmarks Walking Tour

The Medici family helped to establish Florence as the single most important art capital of Renaissance Europe. In order to prove wealth and power, they built numerous palaces, libraries, churches, chapels and personal residences. The Medicis were big lovers of art and they acquired huge, expensive collections, as well as supporting many sculptors and painters of the time.

Designed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Florence Palaces Walking Tour

Florence Palaces Walking Tour

Toward the end of the 13th century, Florentine families who had acquired power – both financial, through banking and trade, and political – began to build sizeable new palaces for themselves. The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo (now housing the Bargello Museum) acted as an important catalyst in this process, having opened the translation into the private sphere.

Early 14th century...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Located in the very heart of Florence’s Historic Center, the Duomo area is deservedly considered the city’s religious and civic center, with many famous landmarks to be found. The most prominent of these is the breathtaking sight that is the Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, built on the site of a 7th-century church. Its magnificent Renaissance dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Florence Food Tour

Florence Food Tour

Food is one of the great Florentine passions, and the great thing about having a delicious authentic Tuscan meal, a snack, delicatessen, or a quality gelato here – besides the abundant variety – is not having to spend a lot of money for it.

In general, the “osterias” and the eateries nestled in Sant’Ambrogio Market will offer cheaper and more casual food with an emphasis on home...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles

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