The 16th century Chapel of the Popes (Cappella dei Papi), which is part of the complex of Santa Maria Novella, has now opened its doors to the public as part of a guided tour.
The chapel was built in 1515 on the occasion of the official visit to the city of Leo X (r. 1513-21), the first Medici pope. The decoration of the chapel was entrusted to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio (1483-1561, son of the famous Domenico Ghirlandaio), who, owing to his extensive commitments elsewhere, only managed to paint a single fresco, that of the Coronation of the Virgin.
The authorities turned to a young artist by the name of Jacopo Carucci (1494-1557), better known as il Pontormo, who painted, amongst other things, the beautiful fresco of Santa Veronica, and to Andrea di Cosimo Feltrini (1477-1548), who painted the grotteschi.
The chapel is situated on the first floor of the Chiostro Grande, the largest cloister in Florence, which is also part of the guided tour.