Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Lorenzo The Magnificent

Lorenzo The Magnificent

Alive at the height of the golden renaissance age, Lorenzo de 'Medici, Prince of Florence, achieved a lot during his short 43 years. A skilled banker, diplomat and poet, he rose to power at the tender age of twenty, following the death of his father, and swiftly struck the balance between artist and scholar. His lyrical ability inspired a generation and poems he wrote for his court were brought to life in song, most notable of which the carnival song – Carnascialeschi – which is still sung to this day.

His love of the arts and expressive freedom manifested itself in his generosity and he became patron to the artists and philosophers of Florence, including iconic artists Botticelli, Leonardo daVinci and Michelangelo. Ever the peacemaker, he achieved the seemingly impossible by helping improve relations between notoriously disparate Italian states, preventing conflict and seeding the idea of a united Italy that can live in harmony.

A much-loved figure, his death was met with sadness, along with claims of mysterious events happening at the moment he left the earth, such as the dome of Florence Cathedral being struck by lightning and Via Leone’s lions attacking each other.

The people of Florence had taken Lorenzo to their hearts, giving him the title ‘The Magnificent’. Not a bad achievement for a man thought to be of average height, ugly appearance, short-sight and who spoke with a harsh, grating voice.