A few steps from the “Palazzo de’Medici Riccardi” is the “Basilica San Lorenzo”. It is alleged that it is the oldest church in the Italian city of Firenze, consecrated by Saint Ambrose in 393. Originally, the “Basilica San Lorenzo” was located just outside the city walls. It is said to have been the first Firenze Cathedral, although there are those who claim that honor for the “Basilica of Santa Reparata”, disappeared since 1292. In fact, it was after 300 years, between the seventh and eighth centuries, the title of Duomo or Cathedral went to the Basilica of “Santa Reparata”. It is on the remains of the Basilica of “Santa Reparata” that the Cathedral of “Santa Maria del Fiore” was built.
The “Basilica San Lorenzo” that we can find today is a reconstruction of the fifteenth century, ordered by eight distinguished Florentine families, among them those of de’Medici. The concept devised was for each of those eight wealthy families to have their private chapel. However, construction costs were overwhelming. Cosimo I de’Medici, taking advantage of the situation, little by little purchased the participation of each of the families, finally leaving the de’Medici as the sole owners of the property. For this reason, the Basilica San Lorenzo is also known as the Church of the De’Medici. The facade of the Basilica remains unfinished due to the lack of funds to complete it. Paradoxically, in the end, neither the de’Medici could withstand the economic burden of the project.
The Chapel of the de’Medici in the Basilica San Lorenzo, became a family mausuleo in the year 1520, an idea of Cardinal Giulio de’Medici (eventually Pope Clement VII).
The complex has a cloister, the Museum in the basement, the Laurenzian Library, the Chapels of Medici (Crypt, of the princes, New Sacristri), in addition to the church itself. On the Piazza de San Lorenzo there is a statue of “Giovanni dalle Bande Nere” whose real name is Lodovico de ‘Medici, father of Cosimo I de’Medici.
Today we see how La Piazza de San Lorenzo and the surrounding area are extremely crowded, mainly as it has become a very commercial area.