Exterior from the Piazza
Interior looking towards the high altar.
di San Lorenzo (Basilica
of St Lawrence)
is one of the largest churches of Florence,
situated at the centre of the city’s main market district, and the burial place
of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio
to Cosimo III. It is one of several churches that claim
to be the oldest in
considered a milestone in the development of Renaissance architecture, S. Lorenzo has a
complicated building history. Even though it was built – at least partially -
under the direction of Filippo Brunelleschi,
it is not purely of his design. The project was begun around 1419, but lack of
funding slowed down the construction and forced changes to the original design.
By the early 1440s, only the sacristy (now called The Old
Sacristy) had been worked on as that and not the church was being
paid for by the Medici.
In 1442, the Medici stepped in to take over financial responsibility of the
church as well. Brunelleschi died, however, in 1446 and the job was handed over
either to Antonio Manetti or to
Michelozzo, scholars are not certain. Though the
building was “completed” in 1459 in time for a visit to
By the time the building was done, many aspects of its layout, not to mention detailing, no longer corresponded to the original plan. The principal difference is that Brunelleschi had envisioned the chapels along the side aisles to be deeper, and to be much like the chapels in the transept, the only part of the building that is known to have been design by Brunelleschi