Constructed in the late 4th century north of the city wall on a hill (the monticlus Sancti Laurenti), near an important entrance to the city (the Porta a Settentrione of the Roman circle), the church of San Lorenzo represents one of the very first testimonies of the presence of a Christian and ecclesiastic community in the Roman colony of Florentia.
The small church, of which traces can still be seen, not to mention the archeological evidence which came to light during the 60's and 70's, was erected thanks to the donations of a wealthy and devoted woman of Jewish origin. She was devoted to the martyr Lorenzo (he was brutally burned to death over burning coals August 10, 258, during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian).
The church was later consecrated Cathedral by Bishop Ambrogio of Milan, in 393.
The area, although walled, was already urbanized. This was proved by the remains of homes and shops discovered during excavation for the construction of the Basilica's exterior flight of steps (1912-1913).
The church was then completely restructured in the Roman style and consecrated a second time in 1059 by the Bishop Gherardo of Bologna (who became Pope Niccolò II). Of this 'second San Lorenzo' we can get a pretty clear idea by observing the Codice Rustici, a precious document that represents the antique center of Florence.
It was compiled in 1425 by Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici, and is conserved in the Biblioteca del Seminario Maggiore of Florence.
From that moment, San Lorenzo carried on its parochial functions for all of the surrounding areas.
Piazza San Lorenzo - Firenze
From March to October: 13:30-17:30
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