As one of the most powerful families in Florence, the Medici were responsible for commissioning some of the greatest works of the Renaissance. Under astute Medici leadership, Florence enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity. The result was an outpouring of art and architecture. Begin with a visit to the church of San Lorenzo, which is like paying a visit to the history of Michelangelo and the Medici family and their fortune. One of Florence’s most precious treasures, generations of Medici put some of the greatest artists to work here; men like Brunelleschi, Donatello and Michelangelo.
See the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, home of the Medici family for 100 years. The palace became the model for noble Florentine houses in the 15th century. It was here that Lorenzo the Magnificent began his Neoplatonic Society, here that Michelangelo spent the early days of his youth and here that Benozzo Gozzoli’s painted his famous procession of the Magi, celebrating both the birth of Christ and the greatness of the Medici. Entering the chapel is like walking into the middle of a magnificently illustrated child’s storybook, which makes it one of the most enjoyable rooms in the entire city.
Cosimo di Medici commissioned Michelozzo to rebuild the convent of San Marco and guaranteed all expenses, no matter how high. It is now a memorial to Fra Angelico, the Dominican monk, who, when he was alive, was as famous for his piety as for his painting.