The Laurentian Library is a short walk from the cathedral square. Giulio de’ Medici authorized the construction of this great library to house the vast Medici collection of books. Michelangelo himself designed the Laurentian Library. The vestibule and the staircase is a sight to behold. The entrance is a little dark that leads to a room that is bright lit by stain glass windows full of Medici family symbols. The staircase is one of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance architecture. Michelangelo had designed the staircase of the library, however Bartolomeo Ammanati and Giorgio Vasari finished them. The width of the bottom is greater than the top to give a greater effect of perspective.
The mosaic floor that mirrors the design of the ceiling has some wonderful intricate details. Michelangelo also created the carved reading benches in the library’s reading room so that it would form a consistent part of the room’s overall design. Various assistants made the carved reading benches from sketches of Michelangelo.
What I found real interesting was Michelangelo design of the room and system for cataloging and displaying the books. You can see the writings on the side of the nooks designating the types of books they held. I found references to books containing essays on the writings of Plato and Pythagoras, among others.
The reading room itself is magnificent, and there’s likely to be an interesting exhibit in the rotunda when you visit. The exhibit I was lucky to see featured old and rare books, such as Herodotus’ Histories, Euripides’ Tragedies, Homer’s Works, and Plato’s Dialogues.
This is not one of the most popular attractions in Florence however it is a remarkable building and well worth visiting. The tourists that do stop by know about it because they are big fans of Michelangelo.
Phone number: +39 055210760
Address: Piazza San Lorenzo, 9, 50123 Florence, Italy
Hours: Monday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday Closed