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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).

Ensure you have loads of time at San Lorenzo Church. Below are some of the top activities:

When arranging your visit, you may want to think about buying a Medici Tour:history and secrets through the Family monuments and a Small-Group Market Visit and Cookery Class in Florence.

If you're after even more activities, take 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 6,076 Properties near San Lorenzo Church
Grand Hotel Cavour ¥10,024
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.

    Hotel Spadai ¥10,922
    Hotel Spadai

    Hotel Spadai

    Via dei Martelli, 10, Florence, FI
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Duomo, this spa hotel is steps from Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, and San Lorenzo Church. Piazza del Duomo and Academy of Fine Arts are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 10 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 21 minutes.

      Aurum Firenze ¥6,441
      Aurum Firenze

      Aurum Firenze

      Via Nazionale 8/a, Florence
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Santa Maria Novella, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Via Faenza and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 5-minute walk and Porta al Prato Station is 16 minutes.

        Orto De Medici Hotel ¥9,355
        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, Statue of David, and Gallery of the Academy of Florence. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Academy of Fine Arts are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 13 minutes by foot and Florence Statuto Station is 17 minutes.

          Maxim Axial ¥5,838
          Maxim Axial

          Maxim Axial

          Via Dei Calzaiuoli 11, Florence, FI
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Duomo, this hotel is steps from Via de' Calzaiuoli and Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower. Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 11 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 21 minutes.

            Relais Piazza Signoria ¥7,924
            Relais Piazza Signoria

            Relais Piazza Signoria

            Via Vacchereccia 3, Florence, FI
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Duomo, this apartment building is steps from Via de' Calzaiuoli, Piazza della Signoria, and Palazzo Vecchio. Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 14 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 22 minutes.

              Firenze Number Nine Wellness Hotel ¥16,740
              Firenze Number Nine Wellness Hotel

              Firenze Number Nine Wellness Hotel

              Via dei Conti, 9, Florence, FI
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly Florence hotel is located in the historical district, just steps from Medici Chapels and San Lorenzo Church. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Piazza del Duomo are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 7 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 18 minutes.

                Hotel Duomo ¥8,811
                Hotel Duomo

                Hotel Duomo

                Piazza Del Duomo 1, Florence, FI
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Duomo, this hotel is steps from Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Florence Baptistery. Bargello and Gallery of the Academy of Florence are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 10 minutes by foot and Porta al Prato Station is 22 minutes.