Being Lorenzo the Magnificent for a Day


posted by on History & Culture, Italians



Lorenzo the Magnificient

Lorenzo the Magnificient bust – National Gallert of art Washington. Photo by Gim Grady

The beautiful Renaissance city of Florence was the home to one of the most famous and influential families in all of the city’s history. The family in question is of course the Medici family, who were not only incredibly powerful but also extremely wealthy. One of the most important members of this Florentine family was Lorenzo Medici, who was later known as Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Lorenzo Medici lived from 1449 to 1492 and led an exciting life, becoming the de facto ruler of Florence at a young age. Claimed to have been the brightest amongst his siblings, he went on to become not only a politician and diplomat, but also an important patron of scholars, poets and artists. He earned the name Lorenzo the Magnificent (or il Magnifico) due to his great leadership abilities, demonstrated by the fact that he led the city of Florence through wars, conspiracies, financial problems and tricky papal relations. He succeeded in keeping his head (often quite literally!) in various trying circumstances, including occasions in which ruthless enemies attempted to challenge his power.

The city of Florence is still home to many Medici monuments and palaces, as well as the setting of the famous Pazzi conspiracy; an dramatic yet unsuccessful attempt on Lorenzo’s life. It took place in the grand Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and resulted in this famous member of the Medici family being excommunicated. His diplomacy and peaceful political policies saved his popularity however, and he successfully restored the balance of power in Florence.

As well as the Cathedral, other signs of the Medici can be seen at the Palazzo dei Signori, which was constructed during the Medici rule and was the political centre of the city at this time. As before mentioned, Lorenzo Medici was also a great patron of art, and you can see many of the sculptures and masterpieces that were commissioned under his rule in the famous and very popular Uffizi gallery.

Lorenzo and his family are buried in the Medici Chapel complex; more specifically in the Buontalenti Crypt of the Princes Chapel. We have a great guided tour of the Medici chapel complex available, where you can marvel at the architecture and semi-precious stones that can be seen here, as well as see the New Vestry of San Lorenzo, which was designed by the great Florentine artist Michelangelo. Our informative tour guide will take you back to the times of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and tell you why he was…well, so magnificent!

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