A week in the Tuscany region of Italy is just not enough to see all of the amazing architecture, vineyards, and other famous sites. Taking short term rentals in Florence provides you with a base to the entire Tuscany countryside. During your short term holiday consider taking in the grand Cappelle Medicee.
Cappelle Medicee honours the Medici Family who ruled over Tuscany for 400 years and were patrons of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. The Brunelleschi is a 15th century church that is part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. On the same land that the Brunelleschi occupies are two chapels, the Medici Chapels. The first was built in the 16th century and called the Sagrestia Nuova, meaning New Sacristy. Michelangelo designed the Sacristy. The second chapel was not built until the next century despite plans being designed in the 16th century. This Cappella dei Principi or Chapel of Princes was designed using architects and family.
The Sacristy was built for the purposes of Guilio de' Medici, a cardinal and cousin to Pope Leo X. It was designed with the intent to be a mortuary chapel or mausoleum that the Medici family could use. It holds the tomb of Guiliano di Lorenzo de' Medici which has a design "Night and Day". It is also home to the Tomb of Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici which has a "Dusk and Dawn" concept. These were not the tombs that were originally supposed to be housed here; however, the more famous Medici tombs never began.
Architecturally, this chapel is in between the transept of San Lorenzo. It has a cubical design with a dome and gray pietra serena. The walls are white washed. Michelangelo was requested to build sculptures that would represent some of the more influential Medici family members.
Cappella dei Principi
This chapel offers a 59 metre high dome. It is the dome that many see from a distance that helps them realise it is the Basilica of San Lorenzo. To gain entrance into the chapel one must come through the Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini. Like the mausoleum chapel, this offers a crypt. It was designed by Bernardo Buontalenti.
This chapel idea was formed by Cosimo I; however, it took Ferdinand I de' Medici to put the design and opulence into fruition. Marble and semi-precious stones were used for a part of the design. One interesting fact about the Cappella dei Principi is that the sarcophagi, of which there are six, stand empty. The tombs of Guiliano and Piero were not supposed to be the main focal point of the chapel. Instead two of the more famous Medici's were supposed to be entombed above in the main chapel. The remains of these Medici's were placed below the chapel floor in the crypt.
The Cappelle Medicee is just one amazing site with a history belonging to the powerful Medici's. On a short or long holiday to Tuscany, and more particularly to Florence, it is a grand place to spend a few hours or perhaps half a day.