Leaving Piazza del Duomo and going along Via Martelli, past the Medici-Riccardi Palace, you arrive in Piazza San Lorenzo which is dominated by the Basilica. Among the oldest and most venerated in Florence, San Lorenzo was consecrated in the year 393 by the great Bishop St Ambrose.
It was renovated and reconstructed in line with the wishes of the Medici family, whose residences were close by. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi presented his plans for the new building, but they were not carried out until 1442 and then were not completed until 1460, well after the great architect's death.
The church is an early Renaissance masterpiece. The interior with its three naves achieves a wonderful harmony, with its clean lines and the series of rounded arches resting on Corinthian columns. The whole effect is due to a very carefully studied vision of perspective. The exterior has remained in its unfinished state, although it was to possess a fašade designed by Michelangelo.
This outstanding building is completed by Brunelleschi's Old Sacristy, Michelangelo's New Sacristy and the grandeur of the 17th century Chapel of the Princes.