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San Lorenzo Church

One of the oldest and largest churches in Florence is also one of the city’s earliest examples of Renaissance design.

Make your way through San Lorenzo Market in Florence’s busiest square to San Lorenzo Church (Basilica di San Lorenzo). The rough-hewn stone façade that you see as you approach belies the artistry and design within. Michelangelo, Donatello and Brunelleschi all made contributions to the design and decoration of the church, which is also the resting place for members of the long-ruling Medici family. This wealthy dynasty funded many of Florence’s Renaissance structures.

The San Lorenzo Church is one of many that lays claim to being the city’s oldest. Consecrated in 393, it was rebuilt over several years from 1419. The architect Brunelleschi was responsible for the original design, and the high arches, Corinthian columns and attention to symmetry are early examples of what later became classical Renaissance style.

Look our for the bronze pulpits in the vast interior. These were Donatello’s last work. The reliefs on them depict scenes from the Resurrection and the life of Christ. To see the work of another Italian master, head to the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) in one of the church’s cloisters. Michelangelo designed this space, and it’s often heralded as his finest architectural achievement.

Michelangelo was also responsible for the whitewashed walls and domed ceiling of the New Sacristy (Sagrestia Nuova). He designed the Medici tombs within. The tombs feature sculptural figures representing the four times of day. More than 50 members of the Medici family are buried in the grand Medici Chapels (Cappelle Medicee).

Find the best example of Brunelleschi’s geometric precision in the Old Sacristy (Sagrestia Vecchia) in the north transept. This square, domed area is the oldest part of the church and the only area to have been completed during the architect’s lifetime. On the walls you will see eight reliefs by Donatello depicting the life of St. John the Baptist.

The San Lorenzo Church is open daily, except some national holidays and some Sundays and Mondays. There is a small entry fee, and certain areas, such as the library, incur an extra charge. For operating hours and admission fees, check the website of the Polo Museale Fiorentino (an institution which administers art works).

Popular Activities at San Lorenzo Church

Give yourself lots of time at San Lorenzo Church. Here are the top things to do:

Why don't you think about purchasing a Medici Tour:history and secrets through the Family monuments? It's one of the most interesting experiences on offer here.

For even more things to do, have a look at our Florence things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around San Lorenzo Church


Map

Best Lodging Options Near San Lorenzo Church

See all 5,549 Properties near San Lorenzo Church
c-hotels Ambasciatori ¥12,326
c-hotels Ambasciatori

c-hotels Ambasciatori

Via Luigi Alamanni 3, Florence, FI
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Santa Maria Novella, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Faenza, Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum, and Fortezza da Basso. Florence Baptistery and San Lorenzo Church are also within 15 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 3-minute walk and Porta al Prato Station is 11 minutes.

    Grand Hotel Baglioni ¥14,356
    Grand Hotel Baglioni

    Grand Hotel Baglioni

    Piazza Unita Italiana 6, Florence, FI
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Duomo, this boutique hotel is steps from Via Faenza and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. San Lorenzo Church and Florence Baptistery are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 4-minute walk and Porta al Prato Station is 15 minutes.

      Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio ¥27,237
      Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio

      Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio

      Borgo S.Jacopo, 3/r, Florence, FI
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Oltrarno, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Ponte Vecchio, Pitti Palace, and Piazza della Signoria. Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 16 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 23 minutes.

        TSH Florence Lavagnini ¥10,067
        TSH Florence Lavagnini

        TSH Florence Lavagnini

        Viale Spartaco Lavagnini 70 72, Florence
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in San Lorenzo, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Gallery of the Academy of Florence and Florence Baptistery. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Piazza della Signoria are also within 1 mi (2 km). Florence Statuto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 12 minutes.

          Grand Hotel Cavour ¥15,030
          Grand Hotel Cavour

          Grand Hotel Cavour

          Via Del Proconsolo 3, Florence, FI
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Duomo, this family-friendly Florence hotel is steps from Badia Fiorentina and Bargello. Piazza del Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 14 minutes by foot and Florence Campo Di Marte Station is 23 minutes.

            Orto De Medici Hotel ¥14,101
            Orto De Medici Hotel

            Orto De Medici Hotel

            Via San Gallo 30, Florence, FI
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in San Lorenzo, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza San Marco, Gallery of the Academy of Florence, and Statue of David. San Lorenzo Church and Florence Baptistery are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 13 minutes by foot and Florence Statuto Station is 17 minutes.

              Solo Experience Hotel ¥16,495
              Solo Experience Hotel

              Solo Experience Hotel

              Via Del Canto Dei Nelli 2, Florence, FI
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Duomo, this hotel is steps from Medici Chapels and San Lorenzo Church. Florence Baptistery and Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 8 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 19 minutes.

                Hotel Laurus al Duomo ¥26,873
                Hotel Laurus al Duomo

                Hotel Laurus al Duomo

                Via Cerretani, 54r, Florence, FI
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Duomo, this hotel is steps from Via de' Tornabuoni and Florence Baptistery. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and San Lorenzo Church are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 6 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 19 minutes.