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The Medici Family were wealthy merchants and bankers. Giovanni de’ Medici , Cosimo (the Elder)’s father, set up the Medici bank, which made them one of the richest families in Europe .

The Medici Family ruled Florence and Tuscany for about three centuries. They encouraged the arts and had a great influence on Italian Renaissance.

Cosimo (1389-1464) was an Italian banker and politician, who became the ruler of Florence in 1434 and ruled the city for 30 years.

He lived with his wife Contessina de’ Bardi and his sons, Piero and Giovanni, in the Medici Palace.

Cosimo supported scholars and artists such as the architect Brunelleschi, the painter Fra Angelico and the sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti and encouraged the creation of major works of art in Florence.

During this period Brunelleschi completed the spectacular Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and...

...and the Church of San Lorenzo.

After his death in 1464 the Signoria , the government of Medieval and Renaissance Florence, gave him the title of Pater Patria (Father of the Nation).

Cosimo’s grandson, Lorenzo il Magnifico (1449-1492), was a statesman, a poet and a patron of the arts. He was the ruler of the Florentine Republic and had a great impact on Renaissance.

During this period Florence became the cradle of Renaissance. Lorenzo supported artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, which created amazing works of art.

By the early 1520s, there were few descendants of Cosimo the Elder so Lorenzo the Elder, descendant of Cosimo the Elder’s brother, started a new Medici dynasty.

Lorenzo’s greatgreat-grandson, Cosimo (15191574),became Duke of Florence in 1537 and Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1569.

In 1539 Cosimo married Eleonora de Toledo, daughter of the Spanish Vice roy of Naples.

...and relations with the Habsburgs provided the Medici with the blue blood and she provided the Medici Family with a powerful link to Spain.

The marriage of Eleonora of Toledo and Cosimo I de’ Medici is perhaps one of the greatest love stories of Renaissance.

Eleonora and Cosimo had eleven children but some of them died when they were very young. She supported her husband and his policies and she encouraged the arts and notable artists of the age.

Cosimo and Eleonora had Palazzo Vecchio re-decorated by Vasari and Boboli Gardens re-designed by famous artists..

Later they moved to Pitti Palace, which became the official residence of the Grand Dukes. Vasari also built the amazing Vasari Corridor, which connected the two palaces.

Cosimo supported great artists , including Gorgio Vasari, Agnolo Bronzino and Benvenuto Cellini.

Agnolo Bronzino was commissioned to paint Eleonora, Cosimo’s attractive, charitable and fertile wife, with her child and heir, Giovanni. Agnolo Bronzino’s Portrait of Eleonora of Toledo and her Son Giovanni (The Uffizi Gallery), shows an idealized Eleonora in an elaborately decorated dress.

To her right, there is her son, Giovanni, dressed in an expensive garment. They are set against a blue background. This painting shows Eleonora’s fertility and, consequently, the strength of the Medici dynasty.

Cosimo’s descendants ruled Florence and Tuscany till the 1700s.

The Medici Family Medici: Masters of Florence is a TV series about the Medici dynasty, which came out in Italy last October .

Richard Madden played the role of Cosimo de’ Medici (Cosimo the Elder), while Dustin Hoffman played the role of Giovanni de’ Medici.


The Medici Family  
The Medici Family