Basilica Di San Lorenzo Overview

The Basilica di San Lorenzo, one of the largest churches in Florence, is one of the most prominent examples of Renaissance architecture. It is also one of the oldest churches as the Basilica was originally built in the 4th century and was rebuilt in the 15th century. The church contains many works of art by famous artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Donatello. 

The Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of the largest churches in Florence, Italy which was consecrated in 393 by Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. It used to give three distinguished experiences as it had three sections, Basilica, the Medici Library and the Medici chapels. The present building was designed by Brunelleschi and was re-built between 1421 and 1461.

The facade of the basilica is also further divided into three sections. The central section contains the doorways and windows, while the two side sections are occupied by a series of fourteen marble statues of saints and prophets.

The interior of the basilica is divided into a nave and two aisles, separated by a series of columns. The nave is barrel-vaulted, while the aisles are groin-vaulted. There are several artworks and artifacts contained within the Basilica di San Lorenzo, including Michelangelo's "Pietà" and Brunelleschi's octagonal "Baptistery". The basilica has a long and complex history, with a number of religious figures having been associated with it over the centuries. These include Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, and Pope Leo I. The church has also been linked to a number of important political figures, including the Medici family and Cosimo de' Medici.


• Marvel at the architecture of the church as the Basilica of San Lorenzo is considered one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Florence. Pay attention to the façades that were designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and feature Corinthian columns and intricate sculptures.
• Make your way to the main altar area where you will find Michelangelo's sculpted Medici Chapels that contain some of his finest work, including marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child.
• Stroll around the Medicea Laurenziana Library which is located at the back of the church and is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works.
• Take a break and learn the history of the burial place of all the principal members of the Medici family from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo III.

How To Reach

By Air: Intercontinental flights don't show up at Florence's Vespucci Airport, thus most guests show up in the city via train or car, or from the close by Pisa Airport. From there you can take city transport which comes every thirty minutes to the main train station of Florence.

By Road: You can reach Basilica di San Lorenzo Florence from the airport by booking a Cab/Taxi. The journey by road from Florence Airport (FLR) is around 14 kilometers and will take an estimated 25 minutes by car.

By Bus: The Volainbus Airport Shuttle connects Florence Airport to downtown Florence. While the tickets can be purchased on board, they cost roughly five euros.

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Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the Basilica di San Lorenzo is during mid-year (June-September). Based on its spectacular array of artwork, architecture, and religious significance this is the best time to visit the basilica because of the warm temperatures, fewer crowds and ideal daylight hours for sightseeing.

This is usually a great time to visit if you want mild weather conditions with fewer crowds while taking advantage of all the incredible sights within Basilica di San Lorenzo including "The Cappelle Medicee Mausoleum" which includes coffins with Michelangelo sculptures inside. 

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Other Essential Information

Tips To Visit Basilica di San Lorenzo

  • Avoid flash photography in the Basilica, as the place is a house of worship and flash photography might cause issues with sensitive fixtures
  • Dress appropriately for the sacred site and cover your shoulders, midriffs, and legs below the knee as a matter of respect for the place
  • Do not bring food, water, and any sort of littering object inside the churchyard of the Basilica
  • Refrain from carrying video recording equipment inside the Basilica as they are strictly prohibited 
  • Make sure you choose a time appropriate for your visit with around 2 hours to spare so that you can extensively explore the Basilica.

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Point of Interest for Basilica Di San Lorenzo
Inner Facades

Inner Facades

Michelangelo did plan and assemble the inner facade of the basilica that is seen from the centre back toward the doors. Get a chance to gaze at the inner facade that involves three entryways between two pilasters with wreaths of oak and tree and an overhang on two Corinthian sections. Admire the exclusive geometrical perfection of the design.

Outer Facades

Outer Facades

Admire the outer facades designed by Michelangelo, which rises above the Piazza San Lorenzo’s market place. Visit the place to see the west front that has remained in the same state since 1480, showcasing a flat front of bricks of terracotta that have been drilled through time. Although the facade is not complete, you can still see the models designed by the artists at the exhibit in the Casa Buonarroti.

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Old Sacristy

Old Sacristy

Visit the Old Sacristy, a work of Brunelleschi and was decorated by Donatello with beautiful sculptures. Get a chance to see the tomb of Giovanni di Bicci Piccard and his wife, under a marble table in the centre of the Sacristy. The Sacristy is designed as a cube overtaken by a hemispheric dome. The Old Sacristy has 3 important characteristics: Classical Corinthian pilasters, geometric architecture and a strong focus on the centralization of space. 

Cappelle Medicee

Cappelle Medicee

The Cappelle Medicee is the most well-known and opulent feature of San Lorenzo. Experience looking at the odd shape, cracked cornices, and asymmetrically sized windows exhibiting Mannerist style quirks. You will also see the aggressive use of colored marble as ornamentation in the interior trumps and unique design initiatives.

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Cappella Corbelli

Cappella Corbelli

Explore the Corbelli church, in the southern transept which contains a magnificent monument by the stone sculptor Giovanni Dupre to the partner of Count Moltke-Hvitfeldt, previously Danish minister to the Court of Naples. The Capella is a marvellous place to gaze at the renaissance architecture.

Works of Art

Works of Art

From artworks like Donatello's "Marzocco" and Sluter's "Entombment of Christ", to Michelangelo's impressive Laurentian Library, the basilica and its surrounding monuments represent some of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Italy and the world for the visitors to view. You can also witness artworks such as Verrocchio, Rosso Florentino and the Fra Filippo Lippi in the Basilica di San Lorenzo.

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