Lorenzo de' Medici surrounded by artists, fresco in the Room of Giovanni da San Giovanni, 1635, fresco, Galleria Palatina, Florence

The Anonymous Gaddiano writes that Leonardo «stayed as a young man with the Magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici, who provided for him and had him work for him in the garden on Piazza di San Marco in Florence».
Condivi, in his Life of Michelangelo, states that the latter was brought there to work by Granacci in 1490.
Vasari recalls the sculptor Bertoldo as he who, at the request of Lorenzo, served as conservator of the works and director of the school for painters and sculptors in the San Marco complex, described by Vasari as follows: «The loggia, the paths and all of the rooms in the garden that Lorenzo had built on Piazza di San Marco.» Vasari also recalls the presence in the garden of artists close to Leonardo, such as Rustici, Granacci himself, and Lorenzo di Credi, as well as Torrigiano, Baccio da Montelupo and Andrea Sansovino.
The "Garden of Lorenzo" was situated at the corner of Piazza San Marco (on the church side) between Via Larga (today's Via Cavour) and Via Arazzieri, bordering on the "Spedale" of the Tessitori and the Company of Priests, in the block running from Via Salvestrina to Via San Gallo, which also contained the Garden of Clarice de’ Medici that had been owned until 1478 by the church of Santa Maria della Neve.
In reality, some doubt exists as to the dates and presences in Lorenzo's Garden. It is unsure, for instance, whether Cosimo the Elder owned land here already in 1455, or whether Lorenzo bought it only after 1480, at which time Leonardo was 28 years old and about to leave Florence for Milan. But already in a paper of Massaio, datable between 1472 and 1480, the «hortus Laurentii de’ Medicis» is mentioned.
The Garden was used as a storage place for weapons as well as a shelter for works of art, when Charles VIII entered Florence in 1494, determining the flight of Michelangelo and his patron Piero de’ Medici. On that occasion the Garden of Lorenzo and the Orchard of San Marco were sacked by the enraged populace.

Texts by
Alessandro Vezzosi, in collaboration with Agnese Sabato / English translation by Catherine Frost