Hidden treasures

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

Historical Curiosities
lorenzo-il-magnifico

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

Latest posts

Siena: The Legend of the Colle di Malmerenda

Malmerenda
Mysteries & Legends

Siena in the 1300s would have provided excellent material for a beautiful animated fiction. In fact, the struggles between the most pow...

View

Florence: History of the 'Bischeri' of Florence

Bischeri
Figures of speech

Bischero is one of the best-known Tuscan words. Calling someone a 'bischero' means describing them as a naive, good-for-nothing and not...

View

Siena: Poggibonsi's horse and pig

Cavallo_e_maiale
Local Traditions

Even Tuscany, like any other part of the world, has its amusing collection of folk legends. These are legends that have been handed dow...

View

Florence: The Lampredotto of Firenze, the king of street food!

Lampredotto
Did you know that...

There are dishes that count as established institutions in the tradition and culture of some cities. Here, in Florence, this role is pl...

View

Top posts

Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music

Guido-d-Arezzo
Big Names

In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...

View

Pistoia: The Kiss of the Christs in Gavinana

Il-bacio-dei-cristi
Local Traditions

It is a very ancient but still popular rite. Two large processions that meet up with a Christ on the cross in front of each one: the he...

View

Siena: Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Piero-Carbonetti
Local Traditions

Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garib...

View

Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens

Kinzika
Local Traditions

It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...

View