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The Chapel of the Magi

The Chapel of the Magi (Cappella dei Magi) is a treasure chest located on the first floor, the heart of the palace. It was designed by Michelozzo and consists of a square-plan space with a recess slightly raised above the floor to accommodate the altar.

It could be accessed via two entrances: a private entrance for the family, and a public entrance for guests. The gilded wooden ceiling, finely carved by Pagno di Lapo, seems to reflect on the precious floor in polychrome marble. The walls were frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli from 1459 onwards: the images depict the journey of the Magi towards Christ Child, who is in the foreground of the altarpiece painted by artists belonging to Filippo Lippi’s workshop. Starting from the wall to the east, the parade is headed by Caspar (in a white tunic), followed by Balthazar (in a green tunic) on the south wall, and by Melchior (in a red tunic) on the wall to the west.

The astonishing richness of details and ornaments is complemented by an accurate depiction of the landscape and characters of the time who join the holy parade: visitors will notice Cosimo and Piero de’ Medici, the young Lorenzo and Giuliano, Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, and Pope Pius II (born Enea Silvio Piccolomini).