The Medici Legacy


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The greatness of this complex man is defined by his duality.


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He was a lover and a fighter, a peacekeeper and a war hawk, and charitable while being gluttonous. Lorenzo struggled with external and internal demons, but he navigated those challenges to achieve magnificence. Something that not all Medici did. The historical reality is that it is easy to see the promise of a golden age when the golden age is no more. Lorenzo is celebrated as a patron of the arts who was willing to use his deep pockets to promote even the most radical humanistic cultural production.

But, even more so, it was skilled diplomacy—his agile ability to keep the peace in a volatile political reality—that solidified his legacy.

What “Masters of Florence” gets wrong

Young Lorenzo is shown to have a personal aversion to war, while, in reality, merchants and bankers needed stability to survive. In a series whose appeal derives from the fascination audiences have with political intrigue that begets violence, a quiet scene stands as a notable reprieve. Young Lorenzo is told by his grandmother, Contessina, that the Magi adorning the chapel in Palazzo Medici Riccardi are Medici, and that he leads them all. Primogeniture can be a road riddled with hardships because there was no certainty that Lorenzo would have the constitution for the role he was born to fill.

Like in the first season, creative liberty creates a line-up far removed from their historical counterparts.

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He is presented as stubborn and quick to ignite into rage. While this is fictional, it sets Lorenzo apart as a more capable heir. Here Giuliano feels like the odd man out, when they were co-rulers who lived in a society in which the ascension of the older brother was a fundamental reality of life. Surprisingly, there is no mention of him fathering an illegitimate son who would become Pope Clement VII. Rather, this Giuliano has an affair with the striking beauty Simonetta Vespucci who inspired the most graceful paintings of Botticelli.

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There is no evidence to suggest that his chivalric interest was anything other than plutonic, but her youthful death makes for a dramatic imagined affair. It may be a series that focuses on Medici magnificence, but these brothers are foolish louses when it comes to bedding the wives of the aristocracy who need no further reasons to despise them. His Fortitude was not yet completed in , and yet it hangs prominently in the Medici kitchen—it would have hung at the Tribunale di Mercanzia, where disputes were negotiated between the Florentine merchants and the guilds.

Maybe more telling is that some historians wonder if Lucrezia Donati inspired this work, just as they muse about the nature of the relationship between Lucrezia and Lorenzo.

Line of Chiarissimo II

Love and war Love and war reign supreme this season. Gian Galeazzo Sforza is framed as a general who is so power hungry that he comes across as barbarous. The Sforza, whose family crest is dominated by serpents, are almost as slippery as the Pazzi. Milan looks ominous and inhospitable and we are presented with a Sforza duke actually eating gold.

House of Medici

Another illustration of this supposed barbary is seeing Caterina Sforza being married when it is said that she is In reality she was 10, but the legal age of marriage was 14, therefore history implies that the marriage was not consummated. Much of the information in the show stems from new forensic examinations of exhumed members of the family. This exhumation work is also explained, as pictured here. Lorenzo the Magnificent , both a clever politician and an esthete, was the most famous of the Medici clan.

Florence is today a marvelous center for the arts, in part thanks to him. Pictured is a 19th-century marble bust of Lorenzo. Cosimo I de Medici worked hard to put Tuscany's governing council out of commission and become the region's sole ruler.

He managed to do that when the pope named him Grand Duke of Tuscany shortly before his death. Despite his thirst for power, Cosimo also showed his compassionate side when he had the swamps near Pisa cleaned up to prevent the spread of malaria. The Medicis pulled the strings of power and through their involvement in banking they also gained influence over the Catholic Church. With these connections, a family member was granted an elite holy post. The Medicis weren't only important patrons of the arts but also helped fund scientific research.

They supported, among others, the astronomer, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei , who discovered Jupiter's moons while working for the family.


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Pictured is a model of one of his telescopes. Over three centuries, the Medicis gained influence all over Europe in politics, business, culture and science. The Tuscan city of Florence practically serves as a living monument to their legacy. There seems little doubt that Scarlatti would have been quite taken with this new invention and delighted to play his sonatas on such an instrument. The long line of powerful Medici begins with Cosimo, born in He instituted the first musical chapels, emulating those in northern Europe.

Meet the Medici

His sons Piero and Giovanni brought many fine musicians to Florence from the north, and were both well acquainted with Guillame Dufay, who promised to send them the piece we are about to hear, a lamentation for Constantinople. She served the Medici court as composer, singer, and teacher from about to She often performed alongside her siblings and parents, including her famous father Giulio. It should come as no surprise that the House of Medici played a role in the birth of opera.

The latter is the first opera for which the complete score has survived. Gloria Banditello was the mezzo-soprano.

The Medici Legacy The Medici Legacy
The Medici Legacy The Medici Legacy
The Medici Legacy The Medici Legacy
The Medici Legacy The Medici Legacy
The Medici Legacy The Medici Legacy
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