Lorenzo the Magnificent

The poet who became prince and one of the greatest patrons of the arts of the early Renaissance

Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici (1449–1492) was the Godfather of the Renaissance.

He was the most powerful man in Florence (prince of the city in everything but title), noted humanist philosopher (he gathered great books to the Medici library, and great thinkers to his court), and an excellent poet in his own right.

He is perhaps chiefly remembered, however, as the greatest patron of the arts—perhaps in all of history.

The list of artists Lorenzo The Magnificent either discovered, supported, or encouraged in their careers reads like a who's-who of Old Masters: Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Ghirlandaio, Verrocchio, and many, many others.

Lorenzo lived (when in Florence) in the Medici family house on the Via Larga—now the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi on Via Cavour—and was the first of his family to be buried in the New Sacristy of the ornate Medici Chapels (ironically, in a far simpler fashion than the famous Michelangelo-carved tombs of his barely-remembered son and grandson nearby—though Michelangelo did manage to sculpt a nice Madonna and Child for Lorenzo's otherwise plain slab).

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How long does Florence take?

Planning your day: Florence would well be worth a week, but you can still fit a lot into just a day or three.

To help you get the most out of your limited time in the Cradle of the Renaissance, here are some perfect itineraries, whether you have one, two, or three days to spend in Florence.

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