I’ve been sick for the last week and stayed home trying to recover from a mean cold that created all sorts of problems. So naturally, I watched Netflix to keep my mind off feeling miserable. I binge watched this new series, Medici: Masters of Florence, it is such a good show! Afterwards, I was compelled to Google information about the members of the Medici represented in the show.
Being a fan of Florentine history, I was already familiar with the famous Medici family. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome”, well for Florence – all roads seem to lead to the Medici!
Who Were They?
The Medici were a family of bankers who also had their hand in political affairs behind the Republic of Florence in the 15th century. During the time of their reign for almost three centuries, they were the grand masters of Florence and helped shape it into the city we know today. The Medici experienced scandals, rivalries, enemies close to home and afar yet continuously strived to keep Florence as their main priority. The Medici Bank was the wealthiest bank in all of Europe, making them an unstoppable powerhouse.
The Medici and The Vatican
The Medici were so powerful that they had ties with the Vatican. They were influential in the papacy and even produced four popes: Pope Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici), Pope Clement VII (Giulio de’ Medici), Pope Pius IV (Giovanni de’ Medici) and Pope Leon XI (Alessandro Ottaviano de’ Medici). In fact, if you visit the Vatican Museum you will see the Medici Coat of Arms on display in various places including the staircase. The Medici also had cardinals, Dukes and two Queens of France (Catherine de’ Medici and Marie de’ Medici).
Why You Should Know Cosimo
Cosimo de’ Medici is the reason why we can enjoy famous works such as Donatello’s “David” and Brunelleschi’s dome on Florence Cathedral. I think he’s my favorite one out of the family (except I’m not cool with him having a mistress – not cool, Cosimo!) The Medici were huge supporters of Italian art, music, architecture and science. They made large financial contributions to aid projects created by Michelangelo, Donatello, Galileo Galilei, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and many others we recognize today. The Medici were the original “Renaissance Man”.
After watching Medici: Masters of Florence, now I really understand why they’re often called the “Godfathers of Renaissance” because it’s true! I am so glad we were able to visit Florence because now I can look back on our photos and try to go on a scavenger hunt for all things Medici.
Have you heard of the Medici family? What do you think about them?