Follow the Footsteps of the Medici Family
Posted by Virginie (19/02/2015)
When we think of the glamour and drama of the Renaissance, it’s natural to think of the Medici family. The family was prevalent in Tuscany and beyond between the 14th and 18th century. Family members held all the respectable, powerful positions in Italy at some time or another during their time at the top, from bankers to politicians to popes. If you’re looking for a holiday that will take you on an exciting historical journey, then walking in the footsteps of the Medici family and heading to Tuscany is a great place to start.
PalacesWith such a rich history, it’s natural that there is an impressive Medici legacy of art and architecture in the places they lived. A striking example of this is the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. After a long history that involved many renovations, it’s now become a museum that displays over four centuries of artistry from Florence and the surrounding areas. The architecture of the museum is just as good as the treasures inside - the frescoes in the Chapel of the Magi especially are not to be missed.
Medici Family VillasThere are over 20 Medici villas in Tuscany that the family left behind. The structures are beautifully preserved examples of Renaissance architecture that were used by the family as country palace escapes, and are well worth a look at.
FortressesSometimes called ‘The Fort of Santa Barbara’, there is a stunning fortress in Siena that was built on the orders of Cosimo I de’ Medici in the mid 1500’s, before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany. He ordered its construction following the defeat of the Sienese by his Florentine army with a view to using it to supress any future rebellions. With its strong walls and visible coat of arms, it is a testament to the military might of the Medici family.
Other fortresses that are linked the family include one in Arezzo, which has been turned into a public park with stunning views of the city nearby. It is free to visit, and the structure of the fortress is still easily recognisable and dominating.
The Medici family were incredibly influential – these are just a few ideas to get you thinking about where you could visit to walk in their footsteps. If you’re looking for a relaxing base from which to set out on your Medici discovery, renting one of our villas in Florence is a perfect way to bring yourself close to the history of the region. Contact us to start planning your adventure.