Medici Family: Masters of Florence Guided Tour
Trinity Chapel in the Medici Palace
Basilica of San Lorenzo
Palazzo Pitti Square
Duration of the tour: 4 hours
Suitable for children: yes
Accessibility for differently abled: no in the Trinity Chapel inside Medici Palace
Difference in level: 10 metres
Further information at the bottom
The history of Medici Family, the Masters of Florence
The history of Florence could not be told without recalling the events of the Medici, the Masters of Florence. This family, that has in fact managed the destiny of the ‘lily town’ from the fifteenth century until the beginning of the eighteenth century, left such an immense heritage of palaces, sculptures and paintings that in this day forms the main reason for which Florence is visited and admired by the whole world.
From the core of the town, not far from the religious centre consisting in the Duomo and the Baptistery, we begin the Medici Family Masters of Florence tour; our first place to visit is Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, the first example of a Renaissance palace in Florence that dates back to the middle of the fifteenth century. Entering the beautiful Chapel of the Trinity, better known as the Chapel of the Magi, we will admire the elegant procession of courtiers and knights – exotically fashioned – that were painted by Benozzo Gozzoli within a cycle of frescos that is among the most fascinating of that time both for beauty and for the symbolic complexity of the figures represented.
Medici Riccardi Palace courtyard
The mausoleum church of San Lorenzo
Leaving the Palace, we move on towards the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the mausoleum church of the Medici family. It’s inside this building where we are able to see the ‘Sagrestia Vecchia’ (the old Sacristy), the first sepulchral nucleus of the Medici family, built by the renowned architect Filippo Brunelleschi – the same one who was the author of the Cathedral’s dome. The interior of this chapel is truly suggestive since it embodies the architectonic ‘purity’ conceived by Brunelleschi; here is preserved – among others – the Piero the gouty’s tomb, a magnificent work by Andrea del Verrocchio. This environment also attests to the refined culture of the Medici family as evidenced by the suggestive starry sky painted in the dome above the chapel altar, a work where even some signs of the Zodiac are recognisable.
The burial of Cosimo ‘il Vecchio’
Also in the San Lorenzo church, we will see the tomb of the first important member of the Medici family: Cosimo ‘il vecchio’ (the elder); the burial of this enterprising merchant – Pater Patriæ – retains some great peculiarities: we will discover them together… From the San Lorenzo church, we go towards Piazza del Duomo (the Cathedral Square) and then towards Piazza della Signoria (Signoria Square). Moving through the streets and the squares of the town, we will not only see the monuments related to the Medici but also to the lesser-known stories of the family members, the ones overshadowed by conspiracies, betrayals, murders… we visit the places where all that took place.
We move on with the Medici Family Masters of Florence tour by reaching Piazza della Signoria (Signoria Square) that is a real open-air museum where many of the monumental statues that can be seen – such as the Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini, the Judith by Donatello, the David by Michelangelo –, were commissioned by the Medici (but also by their opponents) in order to convey important political messages between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a crucial period in the history of Florence.
The Trinity Chapel of Medici Palace
The ‘Sagrestia Vecchia’ in the Basilica of San Lorenzo
The Uffizi Gallery and the Vasari Corridor
Once its power was cemented, the Medici Family wanted to celebrate its glory by some sumptuous artistic works. When they became ‘sovereigns’ of the new state – that was the result of all the Tuscan cities’ union –, they had the desire to magnify their new status through art and beauty; that is what we will get to know by passing through the Uffizi Gallery and then reaching the Ponte Vecchio.
On the oldest Florentine bridge, frequented and photographed by thousands of tourists every day, we discover the presence of a ‘secret passage’ on it – the Vasarian Corridor –, built by the Medici family to connect the “di qua” and the “di là d’Arno” (the two shores of the Arno river) for a very particular purpose….
Palazzo Pitti and its museums
We finish our Medici Family Masters of Florence tour in front of the monumental Palazzo Ducale, better known as Palazzo Pitti that was the last residence where the family lived. Once they became the ruling dynasty in the mid-sixteenth century, the palace was enriched with sumptuous decorations, as well as precious paintings and sculptures. Another curious thing that we will discover is why this building is called as “Pitti”. For now, it is interesting to know that Pitti was the name of an important Florentine family – one of the richest, among other things – which in the second half of the fifteenth century opposed the Medici family on several occasions. So, why did the Medici go to live in the palace of one of their rival families? We will find out it together …
Visiting Florence retracing the events of the Medici family means therefore not only discovering one of the salient pages of the city history, but it is immersing oneself in an intriguing path in which the lives of figures – sometimes cultured and refined, sometimes shady and cunning – intertwine each other, making so that lights and shadows of one of the most important families in the history of Europe are revealed.
Equestrian statue of Cosimo I
The guide is not a tourist agency; therefore, he cannot book external services.
The cost of the tickets for the museums (Medici Palace and San Lorenzo Church) is not included in the tour rate. In case you do not want to buy the tickets for both museums, it is possible to take an alternative route to one of the two museums. A convenient way to access the museums and to use the Florentine public transport service is by the Firenze Card.
The guide does not provide transportation service. For organized groups by tourist coach, there are drop-off/drop-on points fro passengers in the urban centre of Florence (click here to view the points). Tourist coaches are subject to the payment of a checkpoint (further information by clicking here).
To get further information about the tour, to purchase the Museum tickets or to get the contact of a licensed driver who provides private transfer service, write to: