The Chapel of the Princes
The Chapel of the Princes, a powerful and luxurious space, is similar to the structure of the Cupola for the Florentine Cathedral, with its repeating octangular shapes. Ferdinando I commissioned it and hired Matteo Nigetti to design it, in 1602.
The mausoleum construction, designed by Matteo Nigetti with interventions by Buontalenti, was begun in 1604 and went on for over a century (but it has really continued to today) employing the most important architects, decorators, painters and sculptors: including: Gherardo Silvani don Giovanni de' Medici, Foggini, the two Taccas, Ruggieri, Cambray-Digny, Cacialli, Pietro Benvenuti, Giuseppe Martelli and Pasquale Poccianti.
The art of commesso (inlay) in pietra dura had become a Florentine speciality in the sixteen hundreds. Cosimo I and his son Francesco invited master inlayers from all over Europe to come to Florence and work in the artisan's workshops that were located in the Uffizi (Bilivert accepted this invitation). To decorate the chapel they opened the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, or Laboratory of Precious Stones, at the beginning of the sixteen hundreds, which still exists today. It remained a workshop for the production of pietre dure under the Lorena, Borbone and Savoia.