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Hidden masterpieces inside Medici Chapels

08 February 2018

The Museo delle Cappelle Medicee is located in the apsidal part of the important Brunelleschi complex of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence.
In the chapels and in the crypts below are buried many of the most important members of the Medici family, who had made their own parish church. 
To celebrate their great power, they made this place a real mausoleum, the Pantheon of the Medici family. The Brunelleschi project contributed to the celebrity and artistic importance of the complex, as did the intervention of Michelangelo who, in 1520, began the work on the construction of the New Sacristy.

The construction of the Chapel of the Princes began in the seventeenth century. The Crypt, with its many secrets, consists of a large octagon with ribbed cross vaults where there is also part of the treasure of the Basilica, with its vestments and its sacred objects. 

Admire for its richness and splendor, its walls and floors, rich in precious inlays in white marble and pietre dure, according to the great Florentine tradition of the marble salesman.

But it is Michelangelo's New Sacristy, specular to Brunelleschi's Old Sacristy, which arouses greater amazement in the visitor. It is accessed through a narrow corridor and houses the tombs of the largest Medici family, decorated by the famous sculptural groups Michelangioleschi. Not everyone knows that for three months Michelangelo Buonarroti lived in a small secret room hidden under the Medici Chapels. He took refuge there in 1530 to escape the revenge of the Medici returning from exile, after his betrayal in favor of the rebels of the Republican uprising that had ousted them.

The extraordinary fact was that the great artist, to pass the time and overcome loneliness, charted his reflections on both the old works and on what he was working at the time, like the New Sacristy, not only, the drawings reveal the conception of what would have been some of his famous future works.

This hidden treasure will be accessible to the public from 2020, so visitors can admire the graffiti representing the statues of the New Sacristy statues, a horse's head, the head of the Laoconte, the thoughts on the David and other subjects.