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City Secrets is a series of innovative guidebooks whose contributors, from art historians and professors to novelists and architects, choose their personal “city secrets” to share. The following is a pick from City Secrets: Florence & Venice by Fred Wessel, an artist.

One of the visits that moves the romantics among us to tears is the little-known sotterraneo under the Sagrestia Nuova at San Lorenzo. Here are recently discovered wall drawings in the secret passageway where Michelangelo hid from the Medici for three days during the 1530 siege of Florence. Having sided with the Republic against the exiled Medici (another chapter in the love-hate relationship between Michelangelo and the most famous art patrons of all time), he feared the consequences of his perceived betrayal. While in hiding he took some pitch from a wall torch and, as he later wrote, “to forget my fears I fill these walls with drawings.” Closed on the second and fourth Sunday and first and third Monday of every month. By appointment at the ticket office.

Purchase a copy of City Secrets here.

Written by Indagare

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