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» San Lorenzo District
This is an aerial view of the San Lorenzo neighborhood. It's fantastic, isn't it? That big dome towering over everything else is the cupola of the San Lorenzo Basilica, the first Christian basilica in Florence.
It was built in 393 and consecrated by San Ambrogio. Of course, it didn't look like what we can see now. It was first rebuilt along Romanesque lines in 1060. The present building - it is made up of several buildings including the San Lorenzo church, the Brunelleschi Sagrestia Vecchia, the annex cloisters, the Canonici area and the Laurenziana Library with the famous staircase by Leonardo da Vinci. - dates to 1423 and was designed and built by Brunelleschi. During the Renaissance, San Lorenzo became the Medici family's church, because their palazzo, like those of lots of other important Florentine families, was here in this area. The Cappelle Medicee (the Medicean Chapels) are a precious tomb which preserve the Medici family remains, representing the mausoleum of the big family. The whole neighborhood is full of beautiful works of art and buildings, which are an example of and were part of Florence's splendid past.
San Lorenzo isn't just a big, unique museum. It's also a place where there's always a lot going on and where the people who live and work here are always full of life. Take that man sitting over there. Okay, he may look like a statue and, if you want to be really picky, he is. But that statue was done by the famous sculptor Baccio Bandinelli and it was commissioned by the Medici Grand Duke Cosimo I in honor of his father, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, a famous Renaissance condottiere who died very young, and over the course of time it has become more than a statue: it's the symbol of this neighborhood and its people, who are all, like Giovanni, real Florentines - friendly, witty and proud to live and work in Florence.
San Lorenzo, for the Florentines is synonymous with 'market'. The biggest open market of the city is, in fact, located here. In the colourful and noisy San Lorenzo market it's possible to find a wide choice of leather jacket and bags, jeans, t-shirts, shoes…everything of reasonably good quality and at reasonable prices. Even if you don't plan to spend hours shopping we suggest that to visit the market all the same, just to enjoy browsing. Naturally, watch out for pickpockets here!
Just behind the open market, in the large grey and red building that resembles a train station, is the main daily indoor market of the city, the Mercato Centrale, where every morning (except on Sundays) you can find excellent food products (fruits, vegetables, typical local cheeses and meats) at good prices, as well as several places to stop for a quick, high-quality and low-cost lunch, immersed in the beautiful atmosphere of an ancient city market.
(Article by dotFlorence Staff)