Today I want to tell you about the most important family of Florence and the man who started their most important business: to be bankers..
Let’s talk about the Medici: Giovanni di Bicci.
The Medici is the most important family who lived in town, because they had the control of Florence for about 300 years.
But let’s start from the beginning.
WHERE THE MEDICI COME FROM
They originally from the Mugello, an are on th mountain near Florence.
In our day this area is famous for the Moto gp, if you like motorbike maybe you already heard about this area.
Medici came to Florence at the end of the XIII century because in that period the town was really reach.
There were many business people and also the Medici , who were already a rich family, wanted to get something more from this good period.
THE MEDICI: GIOVANNI DI BICCI
Giovanni di Bicci of the Medici family is the first one that really started to get money.
If you saw the Tv serial about the Medici family, the actor who was playing Giovanni is Dustin Hoffman !!
In this kind of old names “di Bicci” means “son of Bicci”. Usually men were called with a kind of nick name that comes from the father name.
So if you read a name of a persona of that epoca, which end with “di NAME”…. you know what it means.
In our day there are many italian surnames that end like this ( for ex: Di Martino) and they could have ancient origin. But it does not have connection with the name of the father as it was in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
MEDICI AND THE BUSINESS
But let’s get back to Giovanni.
He is a business man, specially a banker. He opens branches in France, England,Germany and he is very popular in between important people.
Giovanni takes care about his business but also takes part to the political life of Florencce.
Indeed in 1402, 1408 and 1411 he becomes Prior which is an important role inside the Republic of Florence.
He is a good man and spend some of his money for renovation of the town( for example for the renovation of the San Lorenzo Basilica and the Santissima Annunziata church) and also to help people during the plague of 1417.
PICCARDA BUERI WIFE OF GIOVANNI
Giovanni is married with Piccarda Bueri a beautifull lady coming from Verona and which is part of a good family.
Piccarda has a good education also about business and when Giovanni is far from Florence she takes care about the family .
They have 2 kids: Cosimo The Elder and Lorenzo the Elder from which we have the 2 branches of the family.
But this is another part of the history and I will tell about them in another article.
To learn more about The Medici , I suggest you this book that I also used to be introduced to The Medici when I was studying to become a local guide.
Hope you enjoy the article.