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  • Interior of the cupola of the Sacrestia Nuova. Museo delle Cappelle Medicee, Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • View of the Sacrestia Nuova, Museo delle Cappelle Medicee, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Museo delle Cappelle Medicee [Museum of the Medici Chapels]

Part of the precious Laurentian complex, the Medici Chapels consist of the Chapel of the Princes and the New Sacristy, which are the Medici family mausoleum. They exemplify the extraordinary union between art, technology and science.

Begun in 1604, the Chapel of the Princes was decorated by the Opificio with semiprecious stones and marble; it was not completed, however, according to the original project, which planned it to be entirely lined with semiprecious stones. In 1826, the frescoes of painter Pietro Benvenuti took the place of the ambitious project for a lining in lapis lazuli. Beneath the chapel lies the octagonal crypt, which preserves the wall drawings by Michelangelo (visible on request). As of 1869, the Chapel of the Princes has been an integrating part of the Museum of the Medici Chapels.

The New Sacristy of the Basilica of San Lorenzo was begun in 1521 on a project by Michelangelo and completed as it is today on a project by Vasari. The interior of the sacristy houses Michelangelo’s wonderful sculptural cycle consisting of the statues of Giuliano, Duke of Nemours, Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, the Madonna and Child, and the figures of Day, Night, Dawn and Dusk.

As of recent months, the Chapels have been at the centre of attention of the scientific community due to the disinterment of the bodies of the Medicis, the study of which will shed light on this family’s lifestyle, diseases, therapies adopted to counter these diseases, and on the causes of death.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 18/gen/2008