Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence (must see)

Amidst the hustle-bustle of the city market, stands arguably one of the oldest churches in the history of Florence. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is said to date back to the late Roman era. Along with being the oldest church, the Basilica is also the largest church in Florence.

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is also famous because it served as the parish church and burial ground to one of the most powerful families in late 14th century Florence – the Medici family. The Romanesque style of the previous structure was to be replaced by a more modern Renaissance style edifice. Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to redesign the church during the early 15th century with an elaborate façade to be designed by Michelangelo himself. However, the untimely death of Brunelleschi and Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici led to the project being abandoned much to the humiliation of Michelangelo. As a result, the exterior was never completed. Till today the structure stands incomplete with the façade in plain brick.

However, the exteriors of the Basilica can be quite misleading, for the interiors of the structure are remarkable, following 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. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is still recognized as one of the finest examples of the emergence of Renaissance architecture.

Why You Should Visit:
So much to see here that time will fly by as you look at gorgeous paintings & stunning frescos or explore all the cloisters, small gardens, and the library designed by Michelangelo.
The complex includes the New Sacristy with incredible Medici tombs created by Michelangelo depicting day and night, dawn and dusk, and the Chapel of the Princes, also absolutely gorgeous.

Tip:
A basic knowledge of the Medici family would help your enjoyment of the church.
The market area around San Lorenzo is very nice, so you might want to have a lunch on the piazza in front of the Mercato Centrale (Central Market).

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

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Florence, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Basilica di San Lorenzo on Map

Sight Name: Basilica di San Lorenzo
Sight Location: Florence, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour  

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.
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Florence, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo Walking Tour

Duomo quarter is located in the very heart of the Florence Historic Center. This area is deservedly considered the religious and the civic centre of the town. Most of the historic sites Florence is famous for are to be found here. Take this tour to explore all the masterpieces of the Duomo quarter.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to explore Indipendenza and Santa Maria Novella quarters, visit beautiful Dominican basilica of Santa Maria Novella, as well as Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Accademia di Belle Arti, Cappella dei Principi and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante's Florence Walking Tour

Dante Alighieri is considered one of the greatest poets of all times. He was born in Florence and spent most of his life there until he was exiled. Many of the structures in the city were built according to his greatest epic poem Divina Commedia. This tour will take you on a trip through Dante's life and work in Florence.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Florence Museums

Florence Museums

Over the centuries Florence gained a huge collection of art works. Almost half of them come from the world known artists that lived here and the other half comes from the private collection of the Medici family that have ruled the city for a long time. To show their pride, the city of Florence displayed all these magnificent works of art in numerous museums and palaces. Take this tour to get...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Compared to other Italian "grands" like Rome, Venice, or Milan, Florence is relatively less-known to an outsider for any local products, save, perhaps, Florentine mosaics and Fiorentina FC. Fortunately, there are tonnes of locally-originated things that this Italian city is rightfully...
Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Florence, the city of art and beauty has no problem in mastering the art of the nightlife as well. Local pubs are very popular and appreciated among the Florentines and the tourists. Locals and native English speakers that study or live in the city cannot wait to welcome tourists in their cozy...
Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo...