San Lorenzo. FLORENCE. 64. Route. 527
is the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, a large fresco by Angelo Bronzino. Ad¬
jacent is a beautiful cantoria by Donatello. — The adjoining door leads to
the cloisters and the library (see below).
The simple Cloisters, immediately adjoining the church, with
double arcades attributed to Brunelleschi, are always open (main
entrance Piazza San Lorenzo 3).
A staircase, beginning in the passage to the right of the entrance
to the church in which stands a statue of Pació Giovio (1483-1552),
the historian, by Francesco da Sangallo (1560), ascends to the upper
story of the cloisters and to the Biblioteca Laurenziana (Pl. E, F, 4;
adm., see p. 464; gratuities forbidden), a library founded by Cosimo
the Eider in 1444, and gradually enlarged by the Medici. Its chief
treasure consists of about 10,000 MSS. of Greek and Latin classical
authors, many of which are extremely valuable. The building was
begun in 1523-6 from the design of Miehael Angelo, who built the
pórtico (very effective in spite of several eccentricities, such as the
columns inserted in the walls, with massive volutes below). The
staircase (which also was designed by Miehael Angelo) was com¬
pleted in 1558-71 by Vasari; the rotunda containing the Bibl.
Delciana, was erected in 1841, from Poccianti's design.
The wooden ceiling of the Library was executed by G. B. del Tasso and
Carota, from Miehael Angelo's designs (after 1529 ?). The last also fur¬
nished the design for the 88 'plutei' to which t'ne MSS. are attached. Among
these are a number of códices of rare valué: Virgil of the 4th or5th cent.;
Pliny of the lOth or llth cent, (from the Ashburnham Collection); Ta¬
citas, two MSS. of the lOth and llth cent., the older brought from Ger¬
many, and the solé copy containing the first five books of the Annals.
The Pandeéis, of the 6th or 7th cent., said to have been carried off from
Amalfi by the Pisans in 1135, the oldest existing MS. of this collection,
on which the study of Román Law almost entirely hinges. Most impor¬
tant MS. of J5schylus, and best MS. of Cicero's Epistolíe ad Familiares.
Petrarch's Canzone, with portraits of Petrarch and Laura. MSS. of Dante,
including a sumptuous codex of the end of the 14th century. Letters of
Dante. Decamerone of Boccaccio. MSS. of Alfieri (p. 51). Document of
the Council of Florence, 1439; Codex Amiatinus; Syrian gospels, with
miniatures of the 6th cent.; maps of Ptolemy. Catalogues by Assemann
(Oriental MSS.) and Bandini, continued by Del Furia and others.
To San Lorenzo belong also the New Sacristy and the Chapel of
the Prinoes, the entrance to which, however, is now in the Piazza
Madonna (Pl. E, 3; adm., see p. 464), at the baok of the church.
From the vestibule, under which are graves of some of the Medici,
we ascend a flight of steps to the left, and reach flrst the chapel of
the princes (on the right), and then the new sacristy (on the left).
The Chapel of the Princes (Cappella dei Principi), the burial
chapel of the grand-dukes of the Medici family, was constructed after
1604 by Matteo Nigetti, from the designs of Giovanni de' Medici,
but was not completed till a much later period.
It is octagonal in form, covered by a dome, and gorgeously decorated
with marble and valuable mosaics in stone. The paintings in the dome
are by Pietro Benvenuti (1828-38). In six niches below are the granite sarco¬
phagi of the princes, some of them with gilded bronze statues, from
Cosimo I. (d. 1575) to Cosimo III. (d. 1723; comp. p. 425). On the dado
round the chapel are placed the armorial bearings of 16 Tuscan towns in