San Lorenzo Basilica, Florence

The Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St Lawrence) is one of the largest and oldest churches of Florence, Italy, situated at the centre of the city’s main market district.


History of San Lorenzo Basilica

San Lorenzo was consecrated in 393 AD and is one of the many churches that claims to be the oldest in Florence. For 300 years it was Florence's cathedral before it lost that status to Santa Reparata.

San Lorenzo was also the parish church of the Medici family. In 1419, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici offered to finance a new church to replace the Romanesque building. Brunelleschi was commissioned to design it.

The Medicis gave large amounts of money, but to this day nobody has financed a façade (although Michelangelo designed one). The campanile dates from 1740.

What to See at San Lorenzo Basilica

The Renaissance interior is huge, cool and airy and is lined with chapels.

Opening off the north transept is the domed Sagresta Vecchia (Old Sacristy), the oldest part of the present church, which contains the tombs of several members of the Medici family. It was the only part of the church completed in Brunelleschi's lifetime.

Opposite it in the south transept is the Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy), begun in 1520 by Michelangelo, who also designed the Medici tombs within.

The most celebrated and grandest part of San Lorenzo is the Cappelle Medici (Medici Chapels) in the apse. The Medici were still paying for it when the last member of the family, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, died in 1743. Almost fifty lesser members of the family are buried in the crypt, designed by Bernardo Buontalenti.

Above is the Cappella dei Principi (Chapel of the Princes), begun in 1604, a great domed octagonal hall where the grand dukes themselves are buried. At its centre was supposed to be the Holy Sepulchre itself, although attempts to buy and then steal it from Jerusalem failed.

Quick Facts on San Lorenzo Basilica

Site Information
Names:Basilica of St. Lawrence · Basilica San Lorenzo · San Lorenzo Basilica
Dedication: St. Lawrence
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:43.775029° N, 11.253498° E
Address:Florence, Italy
Lodging:View hotels near San Lorenzo Basilica
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (May 5, 2008).
  2. Wikipedia (some text incorporated under GFDL)

More Information

© Mark Leicester
© Clare and Ben
© Echiner1
© Clare and Ben
© Clare and Ben
© Clare and Ben
© Miles Berry

Map of San Lorenzo Basilica, Florence

Below is a location map and aerial view of San Lorenzo Basilica. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.