Wherever you turn in Florence, you"ll run into traces the the Medici family left end the food of six centuries. Even if it is you"re a background buff or not, you"ll finish up discovering something of background because in Florence you"re surrounding by it, anywhere you turn. In fact, it could be stated that an extremely "air the history" is what color etc the majority of its day-to-day visitors. So who were the Medici?

Simply put, they to be a household of smart, politically-savvy men (and women) who gained power and influence in a deceptively unassuming manner. Little by little, this power and also influence resulted in them make an economic fortune through which they created a bank and do even an ext money. With money, came influence and power.

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They supplied their large amounts that money to keep and expand the power and influence over the food of the century not simply in Florence, but throughout Italy and also Europe. That is said at one suggest they to be the wealthiest family members in Europe. They were patrons of the arts and also humanities and their support consequently ensured Florence was at the center of Europe during the Renaissance, illustration many civilization to the city. For this reason, your influence have the right to still be felt in the city.

While I"m not trying to market a detailed history of the House that the Medici, ns think discovering some that the basics will aid anyone visiting Florence. I"ve to plan to offer this summary of the history of the family members as a first general advent to the key members that the family and their note on the city, hoping her visit to Florence is a bit an ext interesting together a result.

Ready?

The origins

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The Medici family members can be traced to the Mugello valley just north the Florence wherein they were stated in a record from the year 1230. The Medici villa the Cafaggiolo was the family"s Mugello home, located near current day Barberino di Mugello. So... they space not among the original noble family members from the city the Florence. This is of basic importance, since their rise to power and influence was a thorn in the side to other noble households in Florence who, up until then, had regulate over the city, its politics and economy.

Rise come Power: Giovanni di Bicci/de" Medici

In the late 14th century, Giovanni de" Medici (also called Giovanni di Bicci) began the Medici financial institution in Florence. It was with this influential duty that he to be asked to offer in Florence"s governing Signoria. The is essential to note that together a profession town, the guilds the commerce and trade ran Florence throughthis Signoria, basically a council made up of guild members attracted randomly indigenous a pick pool of standard members. The 9 elected officials ruled for just 2 months and also lived in Palazzo Vecchio (called Palazzo della Signoria at the time) away from their families and the public to avoid being "corrupted" by exterior influences.


Did you watch the TV collection Medici: masters of Florence? Dustin Hoffman theatre Giovanni de" Medici in this 2016 television series. Richard Madden play his son, Cosimo. A second season is in the works!

It was through Giovanni"s election to the Signoria the he started getting supporters and thus influence. The family"s prominence in Florence flourished quite rapidly. That was never actually in a political place of power and his interest in politics extended only as far as it affected the family members business, which to be both banking and the structure industry. They were still far less remarkable that other leading households in Florence, such together the Strozzi or the Albizzi however supporting the pope in Rome to be a wise move. The Papacy made the Medici bank their official bank and also this is the critical moment that caused the boost in the family"s power and also wealth.

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Part that Giovanni"s popularity was additionally this: even as a wealthy residential or commercial property owner, in 1426 he went against his very own interests and also of others in his class (rich nobles) in favor of the bad when that voted to create a property tax to get in the city"s coffers.

In one era when the Guilds to be sponsoring functions of art v conspicuous donations by exclusive citizens to develop places such as the Ospedale degli Innocenti (as the city"s orphanage and sponsored by the Silk Guild) and also the Doors of Paradise for the Baptistery through Ghiberti, Giovanni commissioned Brunelleschi come remodel the Church of san Lorenzo. It to be to end up being the "family" church yet he died prior to it to be completed in 1429. The Medici Chapels behind mountain Lorenzo continue to be as the family"s crypt up to this day.

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The 15th century: 3 Generations to preeminence over Florence


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Pontormo"s Cosimo Il Vecchio at the Uffizi Gallery

Giovanni"s son, Cosimo, was carefully taught through his father to expand and also maintain their influence and wealth of their bank. Cosimo"s grandson, Lorenzo, not only ongoing the task but greatly intensified it. Cosimo is now known as the Pater Patriae, or "father of the Country" and as "Il Vecchio" or "Cosimo the Elder" while Lorenzo is known as "the Magnificent".

Stop here and also imagine this: in this 3 generations, in between Cosimo and also Lorenzo, the Medici go from virtual unknowns to coming to be the unofficial top of state of the Florentine city-state. I leave out cite of Piero, Cosimo"s son and also Lorenzo"s father, due to the fact that he suffered poor health and also wasn"t the interested in the family service or politics although that did preeminence over the family and also city politics for 5 years prior to his untimely death. That is remembered together Piero il Gottoso, reference to the fact he must have suffered from gout.


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Cosimo il Vecchio took over as Gran Maestro in 1434, quiet an unofficial place of power in Florence. The Medici were not elected, however relied on their financial power and control of the selection process for office the the currently Republic to develop their dominance. It in reality took the Medici till 1531 to acquire the formal title of Grand duke of Tuscany and to abolish every vestiges of a republic that Florence.


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I"m getting ahead of myself due to the fact that we desire to emphasis on Cosimo for a bit: his organization savvy broadened the family"s fortune at the exact same time as he spent a good amount of it come sponsor the arts and also culture! had he not, Florence would not it is in what you view today. He commissioned Michelozzo Michellozi to develop Palazzo Medici (now recognized as Medici-Riccardi), and supported Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi and Donatello. His patronage gained Brunelleschi the task to finish the dome that the cathedral. He started the first public library in Florence at San Marco, i m sorry was central to the humanist motion in Florence during the Renaissance. That gladly funded the initiative to renew Greek and Roman people through literature, ensuring his grandson, Lorenzo, got a proper education in the humanities. Cosimo had aninestimableinfluence ~ above the intellectual life the the Renaissance.

Now let"s talk of Cosimo"s grandson: Lorenzo "the Magnificent" ongoing in his grandfather"s footsteps through sponsorship of the arts and also culture. He sponsored Botticelli and Michelangelo, artists whose talents might not have been recognized had they to be born in other places at an additional time. It might be claimed he was less talented at the family business, banking, since the financial institution collapsed during his tenure since of poor loans yet it most likely was simply that that paid more attention to other elements over banking.


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Sandro Botticelli - Adoration of the Magi - has several generations that the family and their retainers. Sixteen-year-old Lorenzo is top top the left, v his horse, prior because that his departure on a diplomatic mission to Milan.

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Lorenzo"s heir and also eldest son, Piero, called "the Unfortunate", squandered the family"s remaining money and brought under the Medici dynasty in Florence in 1494. Luckily, the 2nd son, Giovanni, had come to be Pope Leo X and retook Florence less than 20 years later. In 1537, as soon as the very first Duke the Florence, Alessandro de" Medici (their cousin), to be assassinated, the "senior" branch of the family members ended. Power was passed come the "junior" branch, come those descended from Lorenzo the Elder (Cosimo "Il Vecchio""s brother) and also thus started the power of "Cosimo the First", known as Cosimo the an excellent and Grand duke of Tuscany.

Thus, together a basic start to the increase of the House that the Medici, I end this first part. I will proceed with Cosimo the good in one upcoming article!