The most famous and influential family in Renaissance and early modern Italy, the Medicis created an unparalleled dynasty, consolidating their power in Florence during the first half of the 15th century and ruling over Tuscany as grand dukes until 1737. Once the wealthiest family in Europe, they produced three popes, two French queens, and numerous Florentine rulers. They were bankers by trade, benevolent despots by design, and cultural influencers who helped inspire – and fund – the Italian Renaissance and make Florence the art capital of the western world.
A teenage Michelangelo lived with them for a time. Leonardo da Vinci played the lute at their parties. And Botticelli studied the classical statues that dotted their gardens. One of the longest lasting dynasties in European history, ruling from the 13th to the 17th centuries, the Medicis commissioned Donatello to create his Bronze David, commissioned the building of the Uffizi Gallery, the Convent of San Marco, the Pitti Palace….and created the Jewish Ghetto.