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Why was Lorenzo de Medici from Florence known as 'The Magnificent'?

Historical Curiosities

Why was Lorenzo de Medici from Florence known as 'The Magnificent'?

The question may seem rather easy and many of you at this point have probably already pressed the button to give their answer: Lorenzo de Medici was also called 'The Magnificent' for his incredible artistic and political skills. We are sorry for you but ... 'That’s the wrong answer!’

To say the truth, his personal qualities were not common to many people: during his brief life he was an excellent banker (like the majority of the off springs of his family), a clever politician who felt at ease when dealing with the intricacies of foreign politics, but above all an inspired poet with a sophisticated taste for creativity and beauty, so much so that he was one of the most generous patrons supporting artists and philosophers of his time.

That said, we are sorry to dash your beliefs, but these are not the reasons Lorenzo de Medici was also known as 'The Magnificent'. Forget even his looks, if this is what you are thinking about, because as evidenced by some paintings of the time and various chronicle descriptions, Lorenzo de Medici was certainly not an icon of beauty, rather the opposite...

Come on, we've kept you wondering long enough, now we can tell you about the true reason for this well-known nickname. In Florence, those holding the position of Gonfaloniere di Giustizia - the highest authority in the Republic of Florence – were awarded the honorary title of 'Magnificent Messere'. In contrast to his Father Piero il Gottoso and his grandfather Cosimo the Elder, Lorenzo, having dyed at the young age of 21, never came to cover that role which required a minimum of 45 years of age. But soon after his father’s death, the heads of state begged him to ‘look after the city’: and that’s why, after that, he was given deservedly called the ‘Magnificent Lorenzo’.

However, with the passing of the years, the original meaning of this name was evidently forgotten: historians and writers considered it appropriate to link the nickname to the unusual personal qualities of Lorenzo, thus deciding to dub him ‘Lorenzo The Magnificent'. And that’s how he became to be known, still is and will always be known by everyone.

Interesting story, don’t you agree? If history fires you up or if you just want to learn about the events of the most important family in the Tuscan capital, we advise you to take part in our tour ‘In the footsteps of the Medici Family in Florence: our expert guide is ready to lead you around!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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