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Florence, Venice, the Medicis!
Florence as a citystate
Florence was located on the Arno River
By 1338, Florence was one of
the four biggest cities in
Had already been a trade route for centuries
As trade increased during the renaissance, Florence
• Florence became a center for successful bankers, silk and wool
• The wealthy bankers supported the Pope in Rome and in return, the
Pope gave all the financial business of the papacy to these bankers.
• Florence became so rich, they bought up surrounding cities,
expanding their power and control
• Through banking and business dealings, Florentines, met new
people from other societies and cultures. They were exposed to
new ideas and knowledge.
Social System
Florence was based on a
class system
The merchant class got
wealthier and were able to
move up the class ladder.
The merchants organized
into guilds
Wool finishers
Silk merchants
Guilds were like modern day
Mad Monarchists
• The Medici family became leaders of
• They supported artists (Patron of the
arts), architects, and scholars.
• Because of this, Florence became a major
center of Renaissance culture.
Medici Family-Uncrowned monarchs
• Very powerful influence for 3 hundred years!
• (Mid 1400s - mid 1700s)
• They controlled the government
• They paid for some of the most beautiful and innovative churches,
buildings and monuments in Florence
• Employed and supported painters, sculptors, architects
• They held social events to discuss ideas and art
• Cosimo de Medici “Father of his Country” was a diplomat, Got his
wealth and power from banking. He negotiated peace between
Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome and Naples
• The end of the Medicis came when French armies invaded Italy
Interesting Facts about the Medici Family
• Although the names were later changed, Galileo initially named four
of the moons of Jupiter he discovered after children of the Medici
• The Medici Family produced four popes in total including Pope Leo
X, Pope Clement VII, Pope Pius IV, and Pope Leo XI.
• The Medici Family is sometimes called the Godfathers of the
• In 1478 Giuliano Medici was assassinated by the Pazzi family in front
of 10,000 people at the Easter church service.
• Ferdinando de Medici was a patron of music. He helped to fund the
invention of the piano.
1) Michelangelo's David
2) Botticelli's Birth of Venus
3) Botticelli's Allegory of Spring
4) Giotto's Maestà
5) Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation
6) Brunelleschi's Dome
7) Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise"
8) Donatello's David
9) Masaccio's Trinità
10) Fra Angelico's San Marco frescoes
3 social classes
• Upper Class
• Aristocracy (Born to nobles)
• Voted for government
• Had control of Venice since tribal
Cittadini Originarii
The originals! (Original citizens)
Could not vote
Had some rights as a citizen
Marco Polo
• Famous for writing about his
adventures with his father who
was a trader
• They travelled to China and back
along the silk road
• This journey took 17 years!
• Can you IMAGINE?!
• When they returned, people were
fascinated by his tales of a foreign
land and when he wrote them in a
book, it was read with great
excitement by Europeans.
• Republic
• Head of government was called
the Doge
• A group of wealthy noblemen of
the aristocracy ruled that only
their families could vote for the
• These families were only 2% of the
• Many original citizens were
merchants and were able to buy
their place in aristocracy
• Implemented by Venetian citizens
• Associations that met for prayer
sessions, collected money for good
causes and held mass for members
who were sick or dying
• Lived in fear of the afterlife
• Doing good deeds made them feel
like there would be less
• Became the social support systems
we have in Canada for example (EI,
$ for elderly and sick, widows and
Venice Gains Importance
• It had a stable government
• The most successful in sea trade than any other city-state (strong
shipyard, naval base and armory)
• New merchant class supported the arts, artists flocked to the city
• Became the center of European book trade
• First Italian city-state to use the mechanical printing press
• Had a famous university that promoted the study of science, medicine and
How would this have affected the
people’s worldviews?
Italy’s main commercial port city today
The wall protected the city’s inhabitants from invaders
A city of two faces: One towards the sea and one towards the
Was also a major trade city before the Renaissance
With the beginning of the first crusade in the Middle Ages, crusaders
came from England, France and other Western areas into Genoa
The Genovese fleets assisted the crusaders by transporting these
crusaders in the Holy Land
Genoans were paid well for this and granted important trading
• Navy gains control of Constantinople, the largest city in Europe at
the time and so also gained control of trade in the Black Sea. (Its
like a game)
• Things they exported: Wine, olive oil, wool
• Things they imported: Furs, spices, corn, Persian goods
• Wealthy families saw the opportunity to found a powerful bank to
finance trade and the navy
• Genoa was also a republic, controlled by powerful families
Genoa’s decline
• In 1463, Genoa lost Constantinople to the Turkish Empire
• Milan and later, France took control of Genoa
• Many Genovese families managed to hold on to their wealth and
• Andrea Doria, a navy commander, revived the power of Genoa in
1528 when the Renaissance really got to flourish with families
paying for the art and architecture that the other cities had.
• Known for Frescoes: water colour painting done on a wall or ceiling
The Sistine Chapel
What did the three Italian City-States have
in common that led to the flourishing
Renaissance movement?
• Good location, (sea ports, land routes)
• Small size, easy to protect
• Republic governments,
• Rich families that cared about the arts and knowledge,
• focus on banking and trade,
• open-minded
• Valued Education