Basilica of San Lorenzo

Piazza San Lorenzo is a picturesque and popular square with a tipical market. It’s dominated by the Church of San Lorenzo, the oldest church in the city consecrated by St. Ambrose in 393. It was then rebuilt along Romanesque lines in 1000. The present building dates to 1421 and was designed and built by Brunelleschi, but was finished by Antonio Manetti.

The simple internal façade, with marble revetment, the sacristy and the library are Michelangelo's designs but he never carried out them. The interior has a nave separated from the side aisles by Corinthian columns. The left aisle contains the marble choir-loft which may have been designed by Donatello. Under the arches of the last two bays of the nave are Donatello's two bronze pulpits, like two large classic arches on columns. The Sacrestia Vecchia, or Old Sacristy, was built by Brunelleschi. On the opposite side, near the right transept of the church, is the Sacrestia Nuova with the entrance from the outside.

From the Chapel door, you can came into the Chiostro Grande, or the Great Cloister, in Brunelleschi’s style, from which you get into the Laurenziana Library, founded by Cosimo the Old. The prestigious library was realized on drawings of Michelangelo and contains a collection of codes and manuscripts, including the Lorenzo the Magnificent’s book and a collection of autographs, from Petrarca to Napoleon Bonaparte.

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