Born into privilege at the end of the 1300s in an age of turmoil, Cosimo de’ Medici, heir to the Medici banking fortune, grew up surrounded by poverty, corruption, and war. Reserved and soft-spoken yet charismatic and determined, Cosimo vowed to use his wealth for the greater good, manipulating his enemies, courting popes and artists, and becoming the de facto leader of the Florentine Republic, inflaming the oligarchs who schemed to seize the power he almost reluctantly held.

A devotee of ancient literature and patron of education and the arts, Cosimo brought peace, reforms, and prosperity to the Republic, defining Florence as the cradle of the Renaissance. The Medici dynasty would last for centuries and without its support and keen eye for greatness, many artists and scientists—including Da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Galileo—may never have been given their own opportunities to change the world.

“Clear and precise.”


By Francesco Massaccesi

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Read the first chapter here.