It is believed that Michelangelo lived in this vault after becoming involved in a political struggle with the Medici family. In 1527, he participated in a populist revolt that ultimately led to the Medici's exile from the city, after which he became involved with the republican government. When the Medici family returned in 1530, this ultimately led the current Pope, who was also a Medici, to issue Michelangelo a death sentence. Amidst these tense circumstances, it is speculated that Michelangelo took refuge inside the vault, where he would spend two months.
The room measures 32 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and has ceilings that stretch to 8 feet. There is also a single window that opens to the street below. Michelangelo channeled his creative energy to drawing on the walls of the vault, creating sketches of his own paintings and sculptures, like Leda and the Swan and David. “This very small environment is truly unique due to its exceptional evocative potential,” said Francesca de Luca, curator of the Museum of the Medici Chapels, in a statement. “Its walls seem to barely contain the numerous sketches of figures, mostly of monumental format.”
After the Renaissance, the vault faded into obscurity until its rediscovery in 1975. This will be the first time it is opened to the general public. Due to the compact size of the vault, the museum will limit tickets to 100 per week. Additionally, only four visitors are permitted inside the room for 15 minutes at a time. These precautions are to help protect the condition of the drawings. The museum adds: “The limited number of attendance per time slots is due to the need to interrupt the exposure period to led light for extended periods of darkness.”
Michelangelo's secret room will open November 15, 2023 and run until March 30, 2024. Adult tickets cost €20 ($21.20), and people under 18 are allowed inside for free.
For the first time ever, a secret vault of Michelangelo's sketches will open to the public in Florence starting November 15, 2023.
The room is located under Florence's Basilica of San Lorenzo. It will remain open for the public until March, 30, 2024.
View this post on Instagram