The first time I was in Rome when I was very young, the pope was told about the discovery of some very beautiful statues in a vineyard near Santa Maria Maggiore. The pope ordered one of his officers to run and tell Giuliano da Sangallo to go and see them. So he set off immediately. Since Michelangelo Buonarroti was always to be found at our house, my father having summoned him and having assigned him the commission of the pope’s tomb, my father wanted him to come along, too. I joined up with my father and off we went. I climbed down to where the statues were when immediately my father said, ‘That is the Laocoon, which Pliny mentions.’ Then they dug the hole wider so that they could pull the statue out. As soon as it was visible everyone started to eat lunch, all the while discoursing on ancient things, chatting as well about the ones in Florence.
The finding of the Laocoon group in 1506, recounted by Francesco da Sangallo sixty years later.