The Medici family, one of the most important and wealthiest in Florence, has always been linked to the time of the Renaissance, and it left an important mark in the religious core of the city: the Cathedral. In the 13th century Giovanni dei Medici, standard-bearer of Florence, was buried in the ancient basilica of Santa Reparata with in an elengant tomb in inlaid marble; and some altarpieces that adorned the altars of the cathedral bear the Medici coat of arms: the paint with Saint Zanobius by Giovanni del Biondo on the first pillar on the left and the Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Bernardo Daddi (today in the Cathedral Museum). Later, in the 15th century, many of the leading Renaissance artists who worked in the Cathedral were intimately linked to the Medici: for example, Donatello, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo... In addition, in 1478 took place in the Cathedral the Pazzi conspiracy, when lost his life Giuliano de\u2019 Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificen\u2019s younger brother; and later, Lorenzo himself promoted the execution of the funeral monuments of the greatest florentine artists (Giotto, Brunelleschi and Squarcialupi by Benedetto da Maiano and workshop), arranged along the Cathedral aisles. The commissions intensified in the following century: in the 1537 Florence ceased to be a Republic and became a Duchy in the hands of the Medici family. The first of the dynasty, Cosimo I, decided to evolve the Cathedral role: from center of the Florentine religious and civil life to the stage of the royalty. He began an impressive program of works that changed the severe and austere appearance of the interior of the Cathedral in a sumptuous polychromy made of marbles, wall paintings and statues. Since the 1547 the choir area, at the center of the presbytery, was totally renovated. There was already a wooden choir, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, octagonal shaped with parapets crowned by a colonnade; but after a century it was deteriorating and the Grand Duke entrusted the court sculptor Baccio Bandinelli and his collaborators Vincenzo Danti and Giovanni Bandini to realize a new one. Bandinelli designed an octagonal choir with the external parapets decorated with 88 bas-relief depicting prophets or ancient philosophers and crowned by a mastodontic colonnade with three gigantic arches. The altar was surmounted by colossal statues depicting the Deposition of Christ and God the Father. The choir was then partially demolished during the Lorraine period and its parts were sold or transferred in other locations. B. Bandinelli e G. Bandini, Bassorilievi del recinto del coro di Santa Maria del Fiore, 1547-72, Museo dell\u2019Opera del Duomo. The complex iconographic program of these sculptures was then supplemented by the paintings of the dome. This enormous wall painting was entrusted to the elderly Giorgio Vasari in 1572; the subject was an elaborate representation of the Last Judgment, developed by the theologian Vincenzo Borghini. Vasari prepared the immense cartoons and painted the top ring depicting the Elders of the Apocalypse, but he died before finishing it. Francis I, Cosimo's son and heir, choose the painter Federico Zuccari to complete the painting and he finished it in 1579. G. Vasari e F. Zuccari, Cosimo I e Francesco I tra Carlo Magno e san Luigi di Francia, 1572-9, Cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore. In the meantime, the series of monumental marble statues of the apostles was completed by the greatest artists of the time and placed inside large aedicules in Serravezza marble along the walls and on the pillars of the choir area (it was a commission already entrusted to Michelangelo at the beginning of the century). G. Bandini, San Filippo apostolo, 1577, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. In the same years, was completed the external marble decoration of the south side of he Cathedral (in one of the inlaid panels it is possible to recognize the Capricorn, symbol of Cosimo I); together, the grand-ducal workshops guided by Baccio Bandinelli realized a new flooring of the whole cathedral in marble and porphyry with geometric designs; this titanic project that was completed only in 1660. Botteghe granducali, Pavimento di Santa Maria del Fiore, completato nel 1660, particolare. Francis I of Medici wanted to dismantle the ancient Romanesque baptismal fount of the baptistery and the ancient and never completed facade begun by Arnolfo di Cambio. He would replace it with a new "modern" one, but it was not realized until the 19th century. However, the architectural models proposed by various artists over the years are still preserved in the Cathedral Museum. One of them belongs to an amateur architect member of the grand-ducal family: Don Giovanni de' Medici. The last masterpiece donated by the Medici family to the Cathedral was the unfinished Piet\u00e0 sculpted by Michelangelo for his own tomb. Cosimo III bought it in Rome in 1671 and in 1722 it was placed at the back of the high altar of the Cathedral. Today, we can admire it in the Florence Cathedral Museum.