A Medici Legacy… Grazie Anna Maria Luisa!

October 15, 2015 / Places
Florence, Tuscany

The Medici family acquired enormous power and wealth as bankers and financiers influencing the legacy of Florence and Tuscany for centuries. From Cosimo the Elder in the 15th century to the last Medici descendant in the 18th century, they were avid collectors and patrons of the arts.

The San Lorenzo neighborhood in central Florence is where they built Palazzo Medici Riccardi and what is known as the San Lorenzo Complex including: the Medici Chapels, San Lorenzo Basilica, the Laurentian Library, and the San Lorenzo Treasure Museum.

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At the heart of the complex is the Basilica di San Lorenzo, the official parish church of the Medici family and where they celebrated great ceremonies including marriages, baptisms, and funerals. The unfinished façade belies the spectacular interior including Donatello’s glorious bronze pulpits.

Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
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Photo by Victoria De Maio

Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo to design the Laurentian Library in order to house the precious collection of family manuscripts.  Michelangelo personally directed the work between 1523 and 1534 and it was completed in 1571.

Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio

Entering, your eye is immediately drawn to the Ammannati’s impressive stone staircase built according to Michelangelo’s model and the perfect entrance to the splendid library.

Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio

The elegant reading room with its stunning wood carved ceiling and two parallel rows of wooden benches are based on Michelangelo’s drawings.The intricately designed red and white floor tiles and exquisite stained glass windows by Vasari featuring the Medici coat of arms perfectly complement Michelangelo’s superb design.

Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio

Cosimo the Elder, and Donatello are both entombed in the basement of the basilica. Some of the exquisite religious objects and reliquaries from the basilica are on display in the nearby Treasure Museum.

Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio
Photo by Victoria De Maio

Thanks to the last Medici descendant, Anna Maria Luisa, the vast Medici collections were bequeathed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the 18th century with the intention that they be enjoyed and admired by everyone.

And, there is no doubt that this gift has enriched us all!

Victoria De Maio

by Victoria De Maio

Victoria is a lover of all things Italian! A travel advisor, blogger, writer, tour leader, and published author, she is passionate about traveling to and writing about Italy.

Her book, Victoria’s Travel Tipz Italian Style, is available on Amazon.

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12 Responses to “A Medici Legacy… Grazie Anna Maria Luisa!”

  1. Lovely pics and slice of history. Please write a Note about your tree in Puglia!

    Reply
  2. A wonderful note, and excellent pics. One of my favorite places in Florence. Amongst all of the treasures the Sagrestia Vecchia (Old Sacristy) is a perfect example of Brunelleschi’s ideas and the new style that was to sweep the world. Thank you Victoria!

    Reply
  3. I’ll add this to my itinerary on my next trip to Florence, one of my favorite cities.

    Reply
  4. Lina Falcone

    Grazie Victoria, per la storia dei Medici e le belle foto, e anche a Anna Maria Luisa

    Reply
    • Victoria De Maio

      Indeed, Lenora…I’m sure they would all absolutely love knowing that their legacy lives on and is appreciated all these hundreds of years later…and for many generations to come.
      V.

      Reply

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