Medici Chapels

The Medici Chapels are among Florence’s most visited state museums. These buildings are part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo as well as the church of the Medici family and the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.

This museum houses one of the works of Michelangelo who devoted himself to completing the Medici Chapels until 1534, when he moved to Rome. It was based on the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo, which is a square-shaped building with a hemispherical dome.

It was the Grand Dukes‘ decision in the second half of 1600 to cover the Chapel of the Princes with granite, marbles, and precious stones of many colors, thus creating the Workshop of Hard Stone and leaving us an inheritance of great beauty as a result.

Alternatively, the crypt features an octagonal floor covered with ribbed vaults. There are a number of sacred objects that are exhibited here that belonged to the family, including the Silver Museum and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

Medici Chapels
Medici Chapels

medici chapelS history

Pope Leo X, who became Pope Giovani di Lorenzo de Medici in 1513, wanted to build a New Sacristy as a funeral mausoleum for his famous family. He was the son of the great Renaissance figure Lorenzo the Magnificent.

His next step was to commission Michelangelo to design and build the Medici chapel. Unfortunately, the pope died of pneumonia shortly thereafter. Medici pope Clement VII continued the work after his death. On the project, Michelangelo toiled for 14 years. An anti-Medici civil war in 1527 brought Michelangelo back to Florence to fight with republican forces. Michelangelo took refuge in a basement room under the New Sacristy in 1530 after the Medici stormed back.

By this time, the most notorious Medici, Alessandro, was head of the Medici family and he was pardoned by Pope Clement VII in 1531. As a result, Michelangelo despised Alessandro and moved to Rome to work on the Sistine Chapel’s fresco of The Last Judgment. To complete the New Sacristy, Cosimo I, the first Grand Duke, hired Giorgio Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati.

The magnificent Chapel of the Princes was also commissioned by Cosimo I in 1568. However, construction did not begin until 1602. There was a great discovery in the New Sacristy in 1978.

he museum’s director discovered a trap door during renovations when he spotted a secret room in the basement. On the walls of the room were 180 charcoal sketches and doodles. Michelangelo is credited with 97 of them, which can be identified since they replicate his known works. 

What To See In The Medici Chapels

Inside the Medici chapel, there are three main sections: the crypt, the Chapel of the Princes, and Michelangelo’s New Sacristy.

The Crypt

It is the first room you will come across when you enter the museum. Many Medici family members are buried in this room, including Cosimo I and Cosimo II, Ferdinando I and Christina of Lorraine, Giovanni delle Bande Nere and Caterina, Prince Lorenzo, and Cardinal Leopoldo. The Crypt has an octagon shape overlaid with cross vaults. Through two staircases, the above Cappella dei Principi can be accessed from this Crypt.

The Chapel of the Princes

The Chapel of the Princes is a magnificent room, richly decorated and a real treasure trove. The walls and floor of the room are covered with polychrome marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. An Opificio delle Pietre Dura inlay provides its splendor. The work reached its apex right here, even if its funeral tone led to the use of sober colors. Because of this, granite and porphyry were mostly used. On the plinth, colored semiprecious stones were used to reproduce the coats of arms of the sixteen Tuscan cities loyal to the Medici family, such as mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli, and coral. 

Michelangelo’s New Sacristy

Michelangelo designed and built the New Sacristy beginning in 1521 to house the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de Medici. Michelangelo sculpted three sculptures for each monumental tomb. He sculpted two figures for Giuliano’s tomb on either side of his portrait, symbolizing Day and Night. He placed the allegories Dawn and Twilight instead on the sides of the portrait of Lorenzo. The sculptures look towards Michelangelo’s Madonna with Jesus on her lap at the center of the Chapel.

Medici Chapels Tours and Tickets 2023

Medici chapelS opening hours and ticket price


8:15 – 13:50 (Sat – Sun – Mon)
13:15 – 18:50 (Wed -Thu – Fri)


Tuesdays; first, third and fifth Sunday of every month; 25 December; 1 January


Mondays of July and August: 8:15 – 18:00
Sunday 17-31 July, 7-21 August: 9.00 – 13:00
Sunday 4-18 September: 14:00-18:00

Please note that the last entrance time is 40 minutes before the closing time.


Full price: € 9,00
Reduced price: € 2,00 (visitors between 18 and 25 years old)


Three consecutive days to visit all the Bargello Museums (Bargello, Medici Chapels, Davanzati, Orsanmichele and Casa Martelli). It costs € 18.00 and allows one person to visit each museum over a period of 72 hours. It is recommended that you check the museum’s opening hours before purchasing tickets.

The official website of Medici chapels provides more information.


What is the dress code for the Medici chapels?

The dress code is not as strict as that for churches, so casual and summer outfits are acceptable.

why is it called the Medici family chapel?

In the 15th century, Brunelleschi designed the Florentine Basilica of the San Lorenzo complex, including the Medici Chapels. Their purpose is to serve as the mausoleum and burial place of the Medici family, which were built by Michelangelo and Buontalenti between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Who is buried in Medici Chapels?

The Medici chapels are the final resting places for Lorenzo il Magnifico, Giuliano de’ Medici, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Francesco I de’ Medici, Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Cosimo II de’ Medici, and Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Donatello and Cosimo Il Vecchio are buried in the old sacristy.


Opening days and times 2023

Opening hours

8:15 – 13:50 (Sat – Sun – Mon)
13:15 – 18:50 (Wed -Thu – Fri)

Closed on

Tuesdays; first, third and fifth Sunday of every month; 25 December; 1 January

Ticket prices

Full price: € 9,00
Reduced price: € 2,00 (visitors between 18 and 25 years old)

How to get there

Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini, 6, 50123 Firenze

Book online

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Discover the history of Medici chapels in Florence