History, traditions

Life and death of the Medici family

A large number of researchers began working on solving mysteries evolving around the famous Medici family, which used to rule Florence during XV-XVIII centuries and that used to be the patrons of arts in the epoch of Renaissance. A family crypt with 49 members of the famous kin had to be unsealed for this purpose.

Two American universities are financing the project. Research however will be conducted by Italian specialists from such fields as anthropology, paleontology, archaeology, molecular biology, and medical history from universities of Florence and Pisa.

Their main task is to acquire genuine data regarding the diet of the Florentine blue blooded family. Researchers are also trying to determine the actual cause of death of each of the family member. This also has to do with a large number of legends and myths evolving around the Medicis. Some of them even point to some cases where rivals would poison each other to gain leadership.

Study of the remains of Tuscan Duke Francesco (1541-1587) appears to be of major interest to the researchers. He inherited the title from his father Kosimo I, the one to establish his regime of an absolute power in Florence. In contrast to his father, Francesco was not especially fond of politics. Alchemy was his main interest. That is why the Tuscan influence was in decline during the time of his reign. According to historic record, Francesco died of malaria. A day later, duke’s wife Bianca Capello has died from the same illness.

This is where the mystery begins. Researchers of nowadays have certain grounds to suspect that both of them have been in fact poisoned. Afterwards, Francesco’s youngest brother Ferdinant II became the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587, who in turn managed to bring prosperity back to Florence. The researchers attempt to investigate the real cause of the couple's death.

The “Medici operation” stirred rather controversial reactions from relatives of this once powerful clan. According to the Roman newspaper “Republica”, even though the study has already been approved by the Florentine municipal counsel and Prince Ottaviano d’Medici, another one of the relatives attempts to protest the research. However, notes the newspaper, the public’s interest towards the Florentine elite is so great that there is a very scarce hope anyone will listen to his remarks.

Boris Pilyatskin

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