Lorenzo de' Medici Florentine Renaissance patron, poet and ruler

born in Florence (1449) and died in Careggi (1492), aged 43


1438 in Florence and Ferrara

December 6

The operai of the Florentine Cathedral stated that in order to improve the level of divine worship there, Ugolino de Giugnis, a canon of the Cathedral, was commissioned to elect "Magister Benotto and his associates who sing at the church of San Giovanni (the Baptistry) to sing Vespers at Santa Maria del Fiore on festive and solemn days." Another document dated the same day mentions writing to Lorenzo de' Medici, "ambassador of Florence to the pope, presently in Ferrara,' so that he could inform the pope of the decision, specifying the number of singers to join Benotto as three.

1449 in Florence

January 1

1471 aged 22 in Florence

Lorenzo de' Medici calculates that since 1434, his family has spent some 663,000 florins (approx. 460 million USD today) on charity, buildings and taxes. He writes,

September 23

Six ambassadors left Florence to visit the said Pope; namely: Lorenzo de' Medici, Messer Domenico Martegli, Messer Agnolo della Stuffa, Messer Bongianni Gianfigliazzi, Piero Minerbetti and Donato Acciaiuolo; and the said Pope made Piero Miberbetti a knight and he returned to Florence with this title.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 10.

1476 aged 27 in Florence

April 26

At about 15 in the forenoon (11 a.m.) in Santa Maria del Fiore, whilst high mass was being celebrated and the Host elevated, Giuliano, son of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and Francesco Nori were killed, near the choir of the said church towards the door which goes to the Servi; and Lorenzo de' Medici was wounded in the neck, and fled into the sacristy and escaped. They were killed in consequence of a certain conspiracy made by Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Franceschino de' Pazzi and Guglielmo de' Pazzi, the which Guglielma was he brother-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici, his wife being a sister of theirs, called Bianca. And the sons of Messer Piero de' Pazzi were also there, that is, Andrea and Renato and Niccolo; and of the house of Salviati, there were Francesco, Bishop of Pisa, and Jacopo Salviati, who was son-in-law to Filippo Tornabuoni, and another Jacopo also a Salviati, and Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, Bracciolini and Bernardo Bandini of the house of Baroncegli, and Amerigo Corsi, and many others. The conspirators brought Cardinal di San Giorgio(1) here, who was a young man; he entered Florence on the day above-mentioned, and they all came together in Santa Maria del Fiore, and, as I have said, at the elevation of the Host seized their swords, and it is said that Francesco de' Pazzi struck Giuliano, and Bandini the other. And having killed Giuliano they wanted to kill Lorenzo, but did not succeed, as he fled into the sacristy. Meantime the Bishop de' Salviati, with Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, and two of his relatives who were both called Jacopo, went to the Palagio, with several priests, feigning to desire to speak to the Signoria, and they spoke to the Gonfaloniere, and became somewhat confused. The Gonfaloniere perceived the treachery, and he and his companions shut themslves up here and there, and ordered the doors to be closed, and the bell run for a parlamento. And what with the rumour which came from Santa Maria del Fiore of Giuliano's death and the bell ringing at the Palagio, the city was immediately in arms. And Lorenzo de' Medici was taken to his house. Meantime Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi rushed on horseback to the Piazza de' Signori, crying "Popolo e liberta!" (The People and Liberty!), wishing to take the Palagio, but the bishop not having succeeded in getting possession of it, Messer Jacopo was not able to enter. He then went towards his own house, and was advised to take to flight; and he fled by the Porta all Croce, together with many men-at-arms, in the Piazza and at Lorenzo de' Medici's house. And numbers of men on the side of the conspirators were killed in the Piazza; amongst others a priest of the bishop's was killed there, his body being quartered and the head cut off, and then the head was stuck on the top of a lance, and carried about Florence the whole day, and one quarter of his body was carried on a spit all through the city, with the cry of: "Death to the traitors!" That same evening the cardinal was taken to the Palagio, barely escaping with his life, all his companions being captured without exception.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 15-17.

1478 aged 29 in Florence, Città di Castello and Arezzo

April 26

On Easter Sunday, in an incident called the Pazzi conspiracy, a group including members of the Pazzi family, backed by the Archbishop of Pisa and his patron Pope Sixtus IV, attacks Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother and co-ruler Giuliano in the Cathedral of Florence. Giuliano is killed, but Lorenzo escapes with only a stab wound.

June 13

It was voted in Council to put on many new taxes, Sesti and Decime(1); and 50 thousand florins on the priests.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 20

July 13

The King of Naples sent a herald to Florence, with the proclamation displayed, stamped with the arms of the king, and he went to the Signoria to declare war, being deputed to tell us that the king and the Holy Father were ready to oblige us in every way, if we sent away Lorenzo de' Medici: to which the citizens would not agree, and so war began.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 21

August 15

The French ambassador left; and at this time we lost the Castellina. And Messer Niccolo Vitelozzi(1) was going about sacking certain forts of Citta di Castello, and burning men, women, and children, with every sort of cruetly. After that, Messer Lorenzo of Citta di Castello(2) burnt some of our fortresses in the district of Arezzo, and committed atrocities, burning people. They were both cruel men. Such generally come to a bad end. Godly people, as we read in Holy Scripture, never come to a bad end.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 22

1479 aged 30 in Florence and Naples

December 6

Lorenzo de' Medici left Florence and went to the king at Naples.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 28

1480 aged 31 in Florence, Naples, Livorno, Tuscany, Milan and Rome

March 13

Lorenzo de' Medici arrived in Livorno, on his return from Naples. It was considered a marvel that he should have returned, as everyone had doubted the king allowing him to resume his post, and a still greater marvel that he should have been able to arrange everything so diplomatically. God help him!(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 29

March 15

He (Lorenzo de' Medici) arrived in Florence at 21 in the afternoon (5 p.m.).

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 29

June 3

Messer Piero Vespucci was permitted to return to Florence, and was restituted in all his rights, according to the wish of the duke.(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 30

September 27

A certain hermit came to the house of Lorenzo de' Medici at the Poggio a Caiano; and the servants declared that he intended to murder Lorenzo, so they took him and sent him to the Bargello, and he was put to the rack.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 31

October 27

Cosimo Rosselli leaves Florence for Rome, together with other Florentine painters, where he has been called as part of the reconciliation project between Lorenzo de' Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence, and Pope Sixtus IV. The Florentines start to work in the The Sistine Chapel as early as the Spring of 1481, along with Perugino, who is already there.

1481 aged 32

June 2

One of the Frescobaldi, and one of the Baldovinetti, and one of the Balducci, were arrested; and on the 6th June they were hung from the windows of the Bargello, or rather, of the Casa del Capitano, having confessed that they had intended to murder Lorenzo de' Medici.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 32

September 10

Lorenzo de' Medici married one of his daughters to Jacopo Salviati.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 33

1483 aged 34 in Ferrara and Florence

February 12

Lorenzo de' Medici left Florence, going as ambassador to Ferrara, in very fine array.(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 36

March 8

Lorenzo de' Medici returned from Ferrara, where he had been honourably received as a man of merit.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 36

November 10

Three Florentine ambassadors left Florence, being sent to the King of France; they were Messer Gentile, Bishop of Arezzo, and Antonio Canigiani, and Lorenzo, son of Piero de' Medici.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 39

1484 aged 35 in Lusignano, Arezzo, Cortona, Pisa, Sicily, Pietrasanta, Castiglione, Pistoia, Volterra and Florence

October 23

The State arrested a son of Filippo Tornabuoni, called Alessandro, and he was confined within certain boundaries in Sicily. It was said to be because he had designs against Lorenzo de' Medici, who was his relative; this may not have been the case, but I only repeat what was said.(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 40-1

November 7

We captured Pietrasanta, which capitulated to Lorenzo de' Medici, and on the 11th we took the fortress. Piero, son of Filippo Tornabuoni, was made warden, and Jacopo Acciauoli commissary; Jacopo Acciauoli being put in command of the walls. The news reached here at 14 at night (10 p.m.), and the next day the shops remained closed, and there were great rejoicings and bonfires. And the same day Messer Bongianni Gianfigliazzi, another commissary there, was brought back to Florence dead.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 41

1487 aged 38

November 25

The Turkish ambassador presented Lorenzo de' Medici with certain perfumes in beautiful Moorish vessels, and flasks full of balsam, and a magnificent large tent, striped in the Moorish fashion.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 44

1488 aged 39 in Mugello and Bologna

June 12

Messer Giovanni Bentivogli was liberated by the Florentines. Lorenzo de' Medici went into Mugello, where Messer Giovanni had been brought, and having conferred with him courteously, sent him back to Bologna with an escort and his mind set at rest.(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 45

July 30

Madonna Clarice, wife of Lorenzo de' Medici, died.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 45

1489 aged 40 in Fiesole

Lorenzo de' Medici grants Michelangelo's father a post at the Customs in Florence in reward for allowing him to take Michelangelo into his household.

Michelangelo leaves the studio of Ghirlandaio and enters the household of Lorenzo de' Medici to study sculpture under Bertoldo di Giovanni, a pupil of Donatello.

March 10

We heard that the Pope had made six cardinals, who were as follows: two French, one Milanese, two of his nephews, and one Florentine, son of Lorenzo de' Medici.(1) Thank God! It is a great honour to our city in general, and in particular to his father and his house.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 47

July 21

They began to build the walls upon the aforesaid foundations.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 48-9

1492 aged 43 in Careggi and Florence

April 8

Lorenzo de' Medici died on his estate at Careggi; and it was said that when he heard the news of the effects of the thunderbolt, being so ill, he asked where it had fallen, and on which side; and when he was told, he said: "Alas! I shall die, because it fell towards my house." This may not have been so, but it was commonly reported.

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 53-4

April 9


December 2

A parlamento was held in the Piazza de' Signori at about 22 in the evening (6 p.m.), and all the Gonfaloni came into the Piazza, each with his respective citizens behind him unarmed. But there were a number of armed men placed at all the ways leading into the Piazza; and many articles and statutes were read out, which formed several folios. Before beginning the reading it was asked whether two-thirds of the citizens were present; and the bystanders said that it was so. Then the reading began, and it was declared in the said articles that all the laws from 1434 onwards were annulled, and that the Settanta, the Dieci, and the Otto di Balia were also abolished, and that the government must be carried on by the Council of the People and the Commune, and that the balloting-bags must be closed and the names drawn by lot, as was usual in communes; and an election should take place as soon as possible. For the present, twenty of the noblest and ablest men should be appointed who would do the work of the Signoria and the other offices, together with the Signori and Collegi, until the election should be arranged. And the citizens must be content with the result of the ballot. And the said twenty men should among them, who should attend to the war with Pisa and to other necessary things.(1)

Source: A Florentine Diary, p. 74

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Accoppiatori political entity
Amerigo Corsi family, family, family
Andrea de' Pazzi politician, politician, politician, politician
Balducci family
Baroncegli family, family, family, family
Bertoldo di Giovanni medallist, sculptor
City of Florence body politic
City of Milan body politic
City of Pisa body politic
Dodici Procuratori political entity
Leonardo da Vinci anatomist, painter, architect, sculptor, military engineer, scientist, inventor, writer
Lorenzo de' Medici patron, poet, ruler
Ludovico Sforza duke, duke, duke, duke
Michelangelo military engineer, sculptor, painter, architect, poet
Niccolò Vitelli condottiero
Otto di Pratica institution
Pazzi family
Perugino painter
Raffaele Riario cardinal, cardinal, cardinal, cardinal, cardinal


Florence Cathedral cathedral, cathedral, cathedral, cathedral, cathedral
Palazzo Vecchio palace, palace, palace
The Bargello art museum


Lucrezia de' Medici (1470-1553) Florentine noblewoman


Giuliano da Sangallo military engineer, sculptor and architect

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