This chapter describes the architecture of Florence during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and how it was shaped by a single family, the Medicis. In 1445, for instance, construction began on the building now known as the Medici–Riccardi Palace. The real force behind this extraordinary structure was not the architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, but Cosimo de’ Medici, a wealthy banker who, working largely behind the scenes, also controlled the city government. In 1516, a Medici pope, Leo X, commissioned a facade for the parish church of San Lorenzo from painter and sculptor Michelangelo. A generation after Michelangelo’s work at San Lorenzo, a member of a new generation of Medici, Cosimo I, commissioned architect Giorgio Vasari to build the Uffizi, an office building and one of the first monumental examples of the type.
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