THE MEDICI GRAND TOUR: BANKERS, PATRONS AND POLITICIANS

The House of Medici is one of the most famous families of Florence and played a key role in the Italian and European history between the 15th and the 18th century. The Medici ruled Florence first and Tuscany later and they also gave birth to two popes and two queens of France. The House of Medici is still extremely important since it has encouraged and help the artistic, cultural and scientific life throughout the centuries. With the Medici Grand Tour will retrace the story of the family through the many places connected to them.

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What we see together:

  • The Convento di San Marco was built under the patronage of Cosimo the Elder to promote the arts and earn a place in Heaven. Friar Beato Angelico, who painted the cells of the friars with frescoes, lived here, as well as Friar Girolamo Savonarola and Giorgio La Pira. Savonarola founded a republican state in 1400 and was condemned to the stake by Pope Alessandro VI, whereas La Pira was major of Florence after the war and in charge of rebuilding all the bridges fallen during the conflict.
  • Palazzo Medici was designed by architect Michelozzo and was the first residence of the Medici. Also, Michelangelo lived here for a while. The Magi Chapel by Benozzo Gozzoli, which perfectly portrays the members of the House of Medici, is one of the most significant examples of the Renaissance art.
  • San Lorenzo was the family church of the Medici and was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. This is the burial place of the Medici ancestors, Giovanni di Bicci and Piccarda Boeri, but also of  Piero, father of Lorenzo the Magnificent. In front of the high altar, it is possible to admire the tomb of Cosimo the Elder, also know as “Cosimo pater patriae” (“Father of the nation”). Also, the church houses the pulpits by Donatello, the tabernacle by Desiderio da Settignano and much more.
  • The Medici Chapels house the New Sacristy by Michelangelo and the tombs of the Grand Dukes. The beautiful inlays in Florentine commesso work provide a dazzling splendor to the chapels. The Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Workshop of Semi-precious Stones) was built to realize the inlays. The so-called Florentine commesso art is still practiced today and reaches its highest expression here, thanks to the use of porphyries, granites, mother-of-pearls, lapis lazuli and corals.

 

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