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Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

Exeter, United...
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Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

I'm planning on spending an hour or so each at San Lorenzo church and The Medici Chapels on a Wednesday morning in February.

I have a Firenze Card voucher already purchased so hopefully won't need to queue?!? :)

I'll be approaching the Piazza San Lorenzo via Via L. Gori so I'll have the main facade of the church facing me first.

Researching the two places there is so much to see and I'm getting a little confused about the layout, having not been there before.

My questions are...

Do I go in the church first or proceed round the back to see the Medici Chapels first?

Is there an aesthetic benefit from seeing the church first or the chapels first?

As well as answering that one, I would be very grateful if someone would provide me with a little advice on how they may have ordered their own visit once inside these locations ie. what cloister led to where and where the staircase goes etc.etc. :)

As you can see I'm lost before I've even got there...ha ha!!

Thanks people, in advance (love this site!!)....

David S.

Florence, Italy
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1. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

I love you already. We are ducks of a feather.

I favor the classical approach to the whole dang thing. Classical, in the sense of classical learning. Chronology has its advantages! Approach S.Lorenzo and take in that stately and elegant facade (that never was)! No wait! Do your homework and approach S.Lorenzo thinking about its really ancient beginnings. Consecrated by the future Saint Ambrose in 393 (ok, some say 394), it was the first (some say) cathedral of Florentia. As you can see, we're already drawn into a world of mystery.

Once inside, yes the space was manipulated and re-manipulated and, so, may not be Filippo's truest vision. But so what - with a minimum of imagination, we get it, we get where he was going. And the manipulations are part of San Lorenzo's life, so why not enjoy them?

First stop: the Old Sacristy. And this is where I leave you for now...

See you in the New Sacristy!

Katy, Texas
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2. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

David S-

Do yourself a favor and click on the link above for arsopulenta. Make arrangements to see all this with Eugene M. He is a walking book of fascinating, accurate, scholarly, and humorous information. You will not be sorry for this investment of time and money. You will reap from it quadruple fold! The best experience I ever had in Florence and the environs was with Eugene. Don't miss this opportunity for yourself.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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3. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

I would also visit San Lorenzo first (which is not covered by the Firenze card yet I believe). Afterwards you walk around the back where the Medici Chapels have a separate entrance, which is covered by the card and rarely has a queue.

Exeter, United...
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4. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

Thank you everyone...Well, it seems obvious now!

Old Sacristy then New Sacristy, why didn't I think of that?

Seriously though, I wanted to make sure that my favoured practical way (church first, tombs second) wasn't going to be impractical. It seems a rather unique layout eg. right transept only accessible by going out, round the back and in again, and I'm still in the dark about whether you can enter the cloisters or not. I suppose within the hour I'll spend there I'll find out! :)

I'm sure Eugene is a wonderful guide....but first and foremost, these short trips to me to Italy (first year, the Lakes....second year, Rome....this year, Florence of course!) are opportunities to enjoy the tranquility of solitude and the freedom of being alone. I'm with people all day, every day at work or socially....and I love that....but boy do I like venturing off somewhere with a haversack on my back!

Plus I'm an academic who loves to research and then go to these places armed with knowledge, with a map, a plan and a mission to see what appeals to me personally. I form an order based on what I surmise from my reading with a priority here and there, and the option to miss one thing and stay a while longer contemplating another. Wonderful!!

That's really what my trip is about. Pleasing myself. My word, what a luxury!!

Incidentally, my plan has been amended somewhat and, in order to see San Lorenzo/Medici Chapels I've had to forego the church of San Marco as it closes at noon. Then I realised I could see it later in the afternoon when it reopens at 4,...but then I decided if I can do that, then I'd probably rather see Santissima Annunziata instead....seeing as I'm in the vicinity.

So this is how it looks....if anyone spots an error of judgement, please let me know....

Morning:

Stroll from Piazza della Signoria through Piazza del Duomo to Piazza San Lorenzo.

Visit SAN LORENZO and MEDICI CHAPEL.

Afternoon:

Visit MUSEO DI SAN MARCO.

After lunch, visit ACCADEMIA.

Then either visit SANTISSIMA ANNUNZIATA....or (if I sense the beginning of that famed syndrome kicking in, go for gelato!).

Either way, stroll back to my B&B and call in at the BAPTISTERY on the way.

People may think I'm mad, but I am not going to climb the Duomo.

I suppose it's like going to New York and not going up the ESB....

But I decided the precious time doing that could be spent enjoying the feast of things to do and see on the ground.

Incidentally....I can sense I've packed in a lot that first day but I will have to.

The following day I plan a long visit at the Uffizi followed by a visit to Santa Croce....then the day after that, I'll spend the day in Oltarno....and my final day I'll visit Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Maria Novella.

Crazy or what??

Or perhaps...enlightened!!!....let me know, folks!

Ocean City, MD
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5. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

As peggypatch stated, there's rarely a queue - but do check the open dates & times.

frommers.com/destinations/…A21179.html

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187895-d2…

Edited: 03 January 2013, 11:10
Exeter, United...
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6. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

Thank ocpony...

I'm paranoid, neurotic and obsessive about opening times!!

(well, I check 'em carefully, that is)

I plan to make church of San Lorenzo at 10am at the latest....then Medici Chapel around 11am...then leave at noonish. Spend an hour or so at Museo di San Marco till around 1:30pm. Enjoy a panini somewhere and then spend a couple of hours at Accademia till around 4:30pm.

Seeing as the Baptistery last entry is 6:30pm I have plenty of time to maybe call in at Santissima Annuziata for half an hour or so and maybe have gelato as well while I stroll back to Piazza del Duomo.

Well, in theory.....I haven't seen anyone compile this itinery quite the same yet....and a long queue (should there be one) may just mean I have to change things up.

I go in February, armed with a Firenze Card so hopefully not...

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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7. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

Ah now I love you, for we are ducks of a feather! I also prefer exploring solo having done extensive research (which is what I do for a living). Anyway, I don't think you'll have any problems with queues with a FC in Feb. Do make the time for Santissima Annunziata if you can. Both the church and the piazza are much overlooked in my opinion. Now your research has no doubt told you about the curtained covered door leading out to the cloister there, do try it, for one can often find oneself completely alone out there - and not many places in Florence offer that! I don't think your itinerary is overly ambitious and it is nice to hear of someone doing their homework and planning their itinerary according to their interests, rather than it being dictated by the so-called must sees. Enjoy.

Exeter, United...
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8. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

Thanks for the love, peggypatch...

I always enjoy reading your replies and get a good feel from them.

No, I didn't know about the curtain-covered door yet (early days in the research!) but I do now!!

Thanks for the reassurance on itinery. Anything can happen of course but it looked pretty reasonable to me in theory.

Can't wait! Enjoying the prep so much.

Florence, Italy
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9. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

While you're at San Lorenzo, if you can, don't cheat yourself of a peek at the Biblioteca Laurenziana, which you get to through the Chiostro dei Canonici. It's open to the public when there's an exhibit going on. Also accessible from the cloister is the crypt, which is where you'll find the tomb of Cosimo the Elder by Verrocchio.

At Ss. Annunziata, while you're nosing about looking for the door with the curtain, you'll surely stumble upon the passageway that takes you to the area behind the main altar. That's where you'll find the tomb of Giambologna, buried together with Pietro Tacca. Then, as you leave the church and walk across the piazza you'll smile at Tacca's two bronze fountains and the equestrian statue of Ferdinando I, a work executed by both Giambologna and Tacca, and finished by Tacca after Giambologna's death.

Ready for gelato? Keep walking straight down Via dei Servi to Le Parigine, which you'll find on your right.

Edited: 03 January 2013, 14:06
Greater London...
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10. Re: Which do I visit first? San Lorenzo church or Medici Chapels

I also love exploring places solo. In fact, most of my visits to Florence have been on my own for at least part of the time. It's pure indulgence to immerse yourself in where you are without worrying whether or not your companion is bored, hungry or whatever. It seems that my son has inherited the gene, he has just spent three days in Berlin by himself before meeting friends in another part of Germany to celebrate the New Year.

I agree with peggypatch and Eugene, it would be a shame not to see the church and square of Santissima Annunziata, particularly as you will be in the area.

Your itinerary sounds great. As you are spending a day exploring the Oltrarno, you might consider walking up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a fantastic view over Florence, it is even better from the beautiful Romanesque church of San Miniato.

I always envy people who are visiting Florence for the first time. Having said that, all being well, I should be there myself in four weeks and, for me, the thrill never wanes.

Buon viaggio!