by Melinda Gallo

Thanks to the Medici

After having lunch with friends visiting Florence yesterday, I decided to visit the Basilica di San Lorenzo. I hadnít visited the basilica in a long time and felt the desire to do so because we had lunch only a block away. Once I entered the basilica, I slowly walked past the large frescoes and bronze pulpits. I didnít remember the basilica being so grand, and was so happy to have decided on visiting it.

I meandered through the hushed crowds and found a custode (caretaker) to ask if the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels) were open. She told me that I had 25 minutes before the ticket office closed. I was so excited by the news that I quickly made my way out of the basilica and hurried around the back of the the basilica to the Cappelle Medicee.

Once I entered, I was struck by the bronze statue of Anna Maria Luisa deí Medici. Itís an imposing statue in the dimly lit crypt underneath the Cappella dei Principi. I was happy to see her (especially because the monument outside in the grassy area was removed while they are doing some work), but I was also sad to see her in the passageway without much fanfare. Thanks to her, the city of Florence has such an amazing artistic heritage in its possession to share not only with the locals, but also with people from around the world.

I walked upstairs to the Cappella dei Principi and admired the marble sacrophagi. As I stood in the middle of the cappella, I was reminded of the grandeur of the Medici family.

I stayed in the Cappelle Medicee until it closed. On my way home, I walked down via Calzaiuoli past the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio. The Medici certainly left their mark in almost every church, building, and monument. They left a legacy that we all continue to enjoy even after so many hundreds of years. I am grateful to them and am eager to learn more about them while I live in the same city they too once lived in. I feel honored to be able to admire and appreciate all that they helped build and left behind.

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