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The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty

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Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists with whom they were socialized and patronized. Thus runs the "accepted view” of the Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias—tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized and fictitious view of the Medici—wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance—but that in fact their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as a central prop for their legacy. Hollingsworth's revelatory re-telling of the story of the family Medici brings a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.


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Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists with whom they were socialized and patronized. Thus runs the "accepted view” of the Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias—tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized and fictitious view of the Medici—wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance—but that in fact their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as a central prop for their legacy. Hollingsworth's revelatory re-telling of the story of the family Medici brings a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.

30 review for The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    This was really well done. This book really traces the Medici rise from merchants to bankers to semi-royalty. It's interesting, informative and easy to read. This was really well done. This book really traces the Medici rise from merchants to bankers to semi-royalty. It's interesting, informative and easy to read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jo Walton

    As I've found before with Hollingsworth, this was shallower than I wanted. I knew it was a gossip book as opposed to an academic book, and I got a bunch of useful gossip from it, but it could easily have been one notch deeper and been brilliant. And oddly, when dealing with the period I know best, she left out some gossip it would have been worth paying attention to -- Lorenzo's joust, for instance, and Simonetta. It even skims over the Pazzi conspiracy very quickly. But maybe she didn't have ro As I've found before with Hollingsworth, this was shallower than I wanted. I knew it was a gossip book as opposed to an academic book, and I got a bunch of useful gossip from it, but it could easily have been one notch deeper and been brilliant. And oddly, when dealing with the period I know best, she left out some gossip it would have been worth paying attention to -- Lorenzo's joust, for instance, and Simonetta. It even skims over the Pazzi conspiracy very quickly. But maybe she didn't have room, needing to fit so much in. The good thing about this book is that it covers a huge amount of time and a huge number of people and is very clear. I would recommend this book to a serious Medici scholar for the family trees and the pre-chapter summations of who was alive and relevant in each time period. This is stuff I have had to work out for myself, and if you care about questions like "How is Duke Cosimo I descended from Lorenzo" (via his mother, granddaughter of Lorenzo via Lucrezia Salviati) and Giovanni di Bicci (via his father, who was the son of Giovanni il Popolano and Caterina Sforza) then this book is very clear on that. I remember taking ages with Wikipedia working out Catherine de' Medici's descent. This is the history of a family, and if you don't care about that family you won't be interested. If you do, the odds are that you care about it at some particular time. This book will therefore be useful to you for answering the questions that lurk in other periods. And it's not focused on this, but it's interesting even so on questions of power and legitimacy, just because it covers this span of time. She doesn't look back and make comparisons much, but they are there to make. I like reading biographies for several reasons. One is the interest in daily life and details of living and human relationships. Another is the way that lives cut across periods -- history gets cut up into neat chunks, but people live across the borders. This book, following a family who live lives of different lengths across periods cut up differently, was especially good for this. (Lucrezia de' Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent's eldest child, was born in 1470 and didn't die until 1553.) Looking at a family across time is a very interesting way to look at time and history and how things fit together. And how things fit together is one of the things that interests me most. So on the whole, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it, even though it doesn't go as deeply as I would prefer. It would probably be a reasonable starter book and give a reasonable overview of a whole chunk of history. Just don't think this is all there is to it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    In 15th century Florence it pays to be banker to the Pope. In 16th century Florence it pays even better to actually BE the Pope. Ms. Hollingsworth chronicles the Medici family from its humble beginnings at the end of the 13th century to its dramatic rise to one of the richest and most powerful and influential families of the Renaissance. She covers over four centuries and that’s a lot of Medici’s! The author does a great job in organizing all these generations. Each chapter begins with a list of In 15th century Florence it pays to be banker to the Pope. In 16th century Florence it pays even better to actually BE the Pope. Ms. Hollingsworth chronicles the Medici family from its humble beginnings at the end of the 13th century to its dramatic rise to one of the richest and most powerful and influential families of the Renaissance. She covers over four centuries and that’s a lot of Medici’s! The author does a great job in organizing all these generations. Each chapter begins with a list of the family members to be discussed. The book includes a lot of outstanding artwork as these guys were major patrons of Raphael, Michelangelo (and some of the other Ninja Turtles). We learn how they survived numerous plagues, navigated the dangerous political waters of The Great Schism of 1378 (too many Popes), how some became Cardinals and, eventually, Popes all the while falling in and out of favor with Florentine society. Some of them were saints and some of them were scoundrels and Ms. Hollingsworth shares a lot of the family’s dirty laundry (my favorite parts). In addition, the reader learns much about the history of Florence and the origin of all that beautiful architecture and works of art that we tourists love to gawk at. All in all, a fascinating, well-written account of an intriguing family. Highly recommended especially for enthusiasts of Renaissance history. Cheers!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex Struble

    The more I peer into the deep lake of antiquity the more I am baffled at my own historical ignorance. This book did little to assuage my bafflement. The detailed approach and the accounting down to the penny of the how the Medici family earned, spent and squandered their many fortunes is astonishing. The absurd extravagance of the wealthy and avarice of the family is surpassed only by the immense corruption of the Catholic church during this time period. There are a million tragic stories contai The more I peer into the deep lake of antiquity the more I am baffled at my own historical ignorance. This book did little to assuage my bafflement. The detailed approach and the accounting down to the penny of the how the Medici family earned, spent and squandered their many fortunes is astonishing. The absurd extravagance of the wealthy and avarice of the family is surpassed only by the immense corruption of the Catholic church during this time period. There are a million tragic stories contained in the history of the Medici family, not least the damage and pain the inflicted on those they were bound to protect, but as I finished the final chapter I found myself grateful. I have walked the streets of Florence; I have seen the statues, architecture and paintings that are all the remains of the Medici dynasty. I am grateful that in the sepulcher of history, amidst the decaying corpses of all the rich and powerful that have gone before, the skeleton of the Medici Dynasty casts a brilliant light on the works of the great artists and architects of Tuscan antiquity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Freya Nedderman

    A good introductory overview to the rise and fall of the Medici family. However, though it's called 'The Medici', this really only seems to include the Medici men. Despite the pivotal importance of the women of the Medici family in the spread of the family's influence across Europe through their turbulent marriages, I felt they were swiftly brushed over and the spotlight placed back on the men. Obviously I understand that historical documentation usually favours men, so it may not so easy to for A good introductory overview to the rise and fall of the Medici family. However, though it's called 'The Medici', this really only seems to include the Medici men. Despite the pivotal importance of the women of the Medici family in the spread of the family's influence across Europe through their turbulent marriages, I felt they were swiftly brushed over and the spotlight placed back on the men. Obviously I understand that historical documentation usually favours men, so it may not so easy to form as colourful a history of the women, but I still feel there could have been more. On the whole this was an enjoyable, if occasionally dry, read - would recommend to anyone looking to gain a general coherent understanding of the Medici role in Florentine/European history and politics.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Fay

    I was happy with this, I listened to it as an audiobook mostly during workouts and the author speaks a ton not just about the Medici's but mostly about the era, I liked learning about medieval Europe, did you know that some actually kept Lions as pets in cages? The depictions of different festivals made me feel as if I was actually there, I quite enjoyed it. What really encouraged me to listen in to this was that I'm re-watching the tv show The Borgias, a show that I'm seriously in love with. Do r I was happy with this, I listened to it as an audiobook mostly during workouts and the author speaks a ton not just about the Medici's but mostly about the era, I liked learning about medieval Europe, did you know that some actually kept Lions as pets in cages? The depictions of different festivals made me feel as if I was actually there, I quite enjoyed it. What really encouraged me to listen in to this was that I'm re-watching the tv show The Borgias, a show that I'm seriously in love with. Do recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jaime K

    This is an extensive history of the Medici family, from before they were in charge of banking (including when Florence adopted Arabic numerals) to the end of the main string of the family. I've listened to another book on the Medici and found that this one was much more dry and boring. Granted, it was fascinating to learn about their influence on the Duomo as well as the history of how and why they came into all their power, but I felt like the info as a whole dragged on. This is an extensive history of the Medici family, from before they were in charge of banking (including when Florence adopted Arabic numerals) to the end of the main string of the family. I've listened to another book on the Medici and found that this one was much more dry and boring. Granted, it was fascinating to learn about their influence on the Duomo as well as the history of how and why they came into all their power, but I felt like the info as a whole dragged on.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alan Addison

    To begin with, this book is a pleasure to own. The hardback edition is beautifully made and it's immediately obvious that it was made by a company that cares about its product. Anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of/interest in European History will have heard of the Medici family, although I am ashamed to admit that I was unaware of just how long they had their hands on the reins of Florentine (and wider) society. Hollingsworth has a writing style that is relatively easy to follow, and To begin with, this book is a pleasure to own. The hardback edition is beautifully made and it's immediately obvious that it was made by a company that cares about its product. Anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of/interest in European History will have heard of the Medici family, although I am ashamed to admit that I was unaware of just how long they had their hands on the reins of Florentine (and wider) society. Hollingsworth has a writing style that is relatively easy to follow, and the layout of the book, giving each generation its own chapter (with a brief overview as part of the chapter heading) is a nice touch. Having said that, this is probably not a book for the casual reader - it covers centuries of European history and developments such as the reformation, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire and the fall of Constantinople and there is a huge amount to take in. I also feel obliged to comment on the parallels that are to be drawn with contemporary politics - there are lessons to be learned from history, especially about the perils of concentrating power and wealth in a few over-privileged and corrupt families who care more about the acquisition of power and wealth than the potential good that comes with holding it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Laborious

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    I can’t imagine many more people than myself who could check all the boxes that scream target audience for this book, and I found it dry and superficial. As it is an “hidden history” there is an expectation of picking fights, but there are a number of unnecessary and incorrect ones the author picks that detract from her credibility elsewhere. And lastly, on the point of scope, Catherine de’ Medici is present, but the story never follows her to France and measure her impact there. It is largely a I can’t imagine many more people than myself who could check all the boxes that scream target audience for this book, and I found it dry and superficial. As it is an “hidden history” there is an expectation of picking fights, but there are a number of unnecessary and incorrect ones the author picks that detract from her credibility elsewhere. And lastly, on the point of scope, Catherine de’ Medici is present, but the story never follows her to France and measure her impact there. It is largely a history of the family in Florence, with some discussion of Rome, but that fails to capture the whole family. Oh well, there are moments of interest but beyond needing to read it for a lit review, I can’t think of any reason to recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim McDermott

    This book provides a great summary of the entire history of the Medici and debunks some of the myth they created about their role in the renaissance. There are more interesting and detailed books about the individual members of the Medici but I would definitely recommend this as a first read on the subject.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    3.5 stars if that were possible. Note: I haven't finished this book. I start to lose interest in Florence after the Medici become pawns of greater actors (after Guilio's siege), so I haven't read beyond this point. The political gravity shifts away from Florence here and events just become somewhat lesser. The book started off wonderfully. I was truly gripped by the prologue, detailing the siege mentioned above and how it progressed. This set up extraordinary hopes, which honestly weren't quite fu 3.5 stars if that were possible. Note: I haven't finished this book. I start to lose interest in Florence after the Medici become pawns of greater actors (after Guilio's siege), so I haven't read beyond this point. The political gravity shifts away from Florence here and events just become somewhat lesser. The book started off wonderfully. I was truly gripped by the prologue, detailing the siege mentioned above and how it progressed. This set up extraordinary hopes, which honestly weren't quite fulfilled by what came next. The history was enjoyable and Mary paints an immersive picture of Florentine life, and certain events are similarly well told. The overall theme for the book (the "revisionist" history), seemed to be somewhat lacking however. Perhaps this gets going in the latter part which I have not read. I was excited to read this and the prologue heightened this sense even further, however, I did find myself less drawn back with each subsequent chapter. From memory, Cosimo's story was the most well done and interesting. Worth reading if you are a fan of the period. But don't expect anything revolutionary if you are already acquainted with Florence in the 15th century.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Supriyo Chaudhuri

    This is a pretty readable history of Europe's one of the best known families, picking the story from the time when the family moved to Florence, through Giovanni di Bicci's business successes, Cosimo's undermining of the republic, through the more well known Medicis and right to the very end, when the male line ended. Written with an intent to debunk the 'Medici Myth', the book chooses to focus on the endless intrigues, tales of bribery, advantageous marriages and the murders of Medici princesse This is a pretty readable history of Europe's one of the best known families, picking the story from the time when the family moved to Florence, through Giovanni di Bicci's business successes, Cosimo's undermining of the republic, through the more well known Medicis and right to the very end, when the male line ended. Written with an intent to debunk the 'Medici Myth', the book chooses to focus on the endless intrigues, tales of bribery, advantageous marriages and the murders of Medici princesses, and somewhat less on the familiar stories of Medici brilliance. Michelangelo only makes flitting appearance, as does Botticelli, though Vasari and later Gallileo have greater roles. Instead, the endless streams of Popes, royal houses of France, Spain and Austria get greater attention. It's a fascinating story though the names and families becomes somewhat tedious in the end. Also, in a way, it's a tale of personalities - not really my thing - rather than ideas and everyday Florence or Rome. Hence, four stars rather than five, but otherwise, someone interested in tracing the rise and fall of the Medici will find a lot here.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    At nearly 500 pages long, this book is definitely a commitment. It's an easy read, very informative, and I loved all the pictures. I really felt like I learned a lot and there are some aspects of Medici history that have continued to make me ponder the nature of power and wealth long after I finished the book. I like books that give me a lot to think about. However, I do think the book felt formulaic after a while. Each chapter was, "Here's this generation's patriarch. This is how he made his mon At nearly 500 pages long, this book is definitely a commitment. It's an easy read, very informative, and I loved all the pictures. I really felt like I learned a lot and there are some aspects of Medici history that have continued to make me ponder the nature of power and wealth long after I finished the book. I like books that give me a lot to think about. However, I do think the book felt formulaic after a while. Each chapter was, "Here's this generation's patriarch. This is how he made his money. He married this woman. He arranged these marriages for his sisters and children. These are the wars he got involved in. He patronized the arts in this way. He died." I wanted more. A deeper delve. Which I realize isn't really possible with this much history and that it would serve me better to discover if there are books out there just about the specific Medicis I found most interesting. It's amazing how Medieval Europe was such a different world from our own in so many ways and yet in others, things haven't changed at all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Will Waller

    The Family Medici was given to me by a church member who thought that I would be interested. Note, I know next to nothing about Italian history, about city-states on the peninsula, or about this family. The book offers a summary of the different individuals in this highly researched and readable book. What strikes me about the family is just how different each individual's approach to power was. Also, each leader blends their Roman Catholicism with their grab for power. Finally, I was intrigued b The Family Medici was given to me by a church member who thought that I would be interested. Note, I know next to nothing about Italian history, about city-states on the peninsula, or about this family. The book offers a summary of the different individuals in this highly researched and readable book. What strikes me about the family is just how different each individual's approach to power was. Also, each leader blends their Roman Catholicism with their grab for power. Finally, I was intrigued by their relationship to science and specifically Galileo, who was sponsored by one of the Medici's. This was not a book I would have ever picked up to read on my own, so I am thankful that someone lent it to me to study and learn. That's the benefit of my rules (that I have to read any book that someone gives to me - I'm reading far beyond the scope of my personal preference).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dayla

    Learning for the first time about the powerful works of art brought and made in Florence due to the Medici Family during the Renaissance, I am grateful. Such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Buonarroti sculptured the David statue. now seen in the Uffizi Art Museum in Florence. And counterintuitively, the statue of David (of David and Goliath fame) does not represent the Medici Family. No, the citizens felt so "put upon" by the continual wars and taxes Learning for the first time about the powerful works of art brought and made in Florence due to the Medici Family during the Renaissance, I am grateful. Such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo Buonarroti. Buonarroti sculptured the David statue. now seen in the Uffizi Art Museum in Florence. And counterintuitively, the statue of David (of David and Goliath fame) does not represent the Medici Family. No, the citizens felt so "put upon" by the continual wars and taxes, they identified with David, and felt that the Family Medici was the Goliath. I also learned that the plural of Medici is NOT Medicis. It is Medici (same as singular). Florence's gold coin, the florin, became a standard currency across Europe in the 14th century). And the Medici bank grew into the most powerful in Europe in the 15th century, with branches in Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan, London, Geneva. Even the Vatican was a major client. Lorenzo, the Magnificent, was a self-promoter, and wasn't all that magnificent afterall Galileo was a family tutor, and Michelangelo lived in the Medici Palace.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I first started learning about the Medici family in 1994, when I was tasked to write up the informational itinerary for my study abroad group in college for our visit to Florence. I was entranced by Lorenzo and the power he wielded and the art that came at his patronage. The family's lack of scruples in gaining power and the intrigue surrounding their marriages and accumulations of papal power is no secret. They are fascinating, but also mostly abhorrent. This compendium is comprehensive, but lac I first started learning about the Medici family in 1994, when I was tasked to write up the informational itinerary for my study abroad group in college for our visit to Florence. I was entranced by Lorenzo and the power he wielded and the art that came at his patronage. The family's lack of scruples in gaining power and the intrigue surrounding their marriages and accumulations of papal power is no secret. They are fascinating, but also mostly abhorrent. This compendium is comprehensive, but lacking in soul in the telling. It is a gathering of facts and figures and dates that one could just as easily gain by reading the Wikipedia articles of each family member. Good for resourcing; not great reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I've been interested in the Medici since the year I spent studying abroad in Italy. Gli Uffizi was my most favourite museum I visited and the history of that museum is so singularly entwined with the Medici legacy. That being said while I can give only credit and kudos to the research and time put into this, it was a bit too dense on the names and dates and a bit too light on the context for my personal preference. If you are looking for a well-researched and in-depth run through of the entire Me I've been interested in the Medici since the year I spent studying abroad in Italy. Gli Uffizi was my most favourite museum I visited and the history of that museum is so singularly entwined with the Medici legacy. That being said while I can give only credit and kudos to the research and time put into this, it was a bit too dense on the names and dates and a bit too light on the context for my personal preference. If you are looking for a well-researched and in-depth run through of the entire Medici empire as told through the leading man of each generation, this is for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patsy Decoster

    I’ve probably read a dozen books about the Medici dynasty, both historical novels as well as history books. Accidently I discovered this non-fiction book ‘The Medici’ (written by Mary Hollingsworth) in my favourite little book shop in Florence. It turned out to be a true gem: without any doubt this work is the most complete, truthful and interesting story of the power-hungry, unscrupulous rulers and fathers of Renaissance in Florence. Reading this work of reference tears down the aura surroundin I’ve probably read a dozen books about the Medici dynasty, both historical novels as well as history books. Accidently I discovered this non-fiction book ‘The Medici’ (written by Mary Hollingsworth) in my favourite little book shop in Florence. It turned out to be a true gem: without any doubt this work is the most complete, truthful and interesting story of the power-hungry, unscrupulous rulers and fathers of Renaissance in Florence. Reading this work of reference tears down the aura surrounding the Medici family irreversibly. A must read for all history and art lovers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    An amazing story about the rise of the merchant family to the ranks of archdukes, then their inevitable fall as ones. Despite everything bad that can be said about the Medicis (and there's a lot, like of any powerful European family back then), there's a lot of good as well. I am astounded by their unrelenting desire to rise above their station, to work for that, to bribe and kill for that. I admire them and I applaud them. I am also grateful to them for Uffizi, and Palazzo Pitti, and - well, yo An amazing story about the rise of the merchant family to the ranks of archdukes, then their inevitable fall as ones. Despite everything bad that can be said about the Medicis (and there's a lot, like of any powerful European family back then), there's a lot of good as well. I am astounded by their unrelenting desire to rise above their station, to work for that, to bribe and kill for that. I admire them and I applaud them. I am also grateful to them for Uffizi, and Palazzo Pitti, and - well, you name it. It was a brilliant story and now I can't wait to visit Florence once again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    T B

    I learned a lot from this book about this family, its place in Renaissance Italy, its close ties to the Vatican and its financial dealings. It's very well researched and documented. However, the book's pace was too slow for me. She added too many facts that didn't seem relevant and chased down too many rabbit trails to hold my interest so I returned it to the library although I hadn't finished it. I learned a lot from this book about this family, its place in Renaissance Italy, its close ties to the Vatican and its financial dealings. It's very well researched and documented. However, the book's pace was too slow for me. She added too many facts that didn't seem relevant and chased down too many rabbit trails to hold my interest so I returned it to the library although I hadn't finished it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Chavez

    I picked up this book because of a boardgame (Lorenzo Il Magnifico - excellent) and another book (Lent by Jo Walton). I wanted to see how those entities tied into the history of Florence. It turns out that Lorenzo Il Magnifico only merits about a chapter and Savonarola (the protagonist in Lent) gets even fewer pages. If you want to read dynastic history about bankers that became royalty, read this. If you are interested in Savonarola, read Lent.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Neil Hannah

    An excellent family history of the Medicis and their place in renaissance Italy. I did find it quite hard going, it covers several hundred years and a great many characters many of whom have the same name, which adds to confusion. I read it on the kindle and found it hard to keep referring to the genealogical tables, maps and references, without which it is really hard to figure it all out. Nonetheless it was a good read and i loved the illustrations and the tales behind them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephi K.

    A expansive history of the Medici family in Tuscany, this book relentlessly marches through over 500 years. Reading this tome was a marathon. But since I just visited Florence, Italy, I was so curious about the Medici that I decided to spend the time to finish. I don't know if I'll ever use the information or if I'll ever be able to go back to Florence, but it was interesting. A expansive history of the Medici family in Tuscany, this book relentlessly marches through over 500 years. Reading this tome was a marathon. But since I just visited Florence, Italy, I was so curious about the Medici that I decided to spend the time to finish. I don't know if I'll ever use the information or if I'll ever be able to go back to Florence, but it was interesting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JodiP

    This was great preparation for my trip to Florence. It describes the seamier side of the family's actions, which of course there were some. Lorenzo isn't quite the artist many other sources make him out to be, for example. It was wonderful visiting their first little house and seeing how they used frescoes to signifiy their importance through the use of Greek and Roman myth. This was great preparation for my trip to Florence. It describes the seamier side of the family's actions, which of course there were some. Lorenzo isn't quite the artist many other sources make him out to be, for example. It was wonderful visiting their first little house and seeing how they used frescoes to signifiy their importance through the use of Greek and Roman myth.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Well-written and informative book. I especially liked the way the names and ages were presented before each chapter. This helped me a lot to keep track of who we were talking about, especially given the fact that the Medicis liked to recycle a lot of names...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a fascinating look at the rise and fall of one of the most notable families in Italian history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite Czajka

    interesting, but I expected more of a personal view.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dutch10k

    Wow, there is a lot of history here. It is well done and interesting and the author does a good job of helping to keep all the characters differentiated.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I liked all the color photos of art portraying or commissioned by the Medicis. A good book to get prior to a visit to Florence, quick read.

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