A brutal murder, a nefarious plot, a coded letter. After five hundred years, the most notorious mystery of the Renaissance is finally solved.
The Italian Renaissance is remembered as much for intrigue as it is for art, with papal politics and infighting among Italy’s many city-states providing the grist for Machiavelli’s classic work on take-no-prisoners politics, The Prince. The attempted assassination of the Medici brothers in the Duomo in Florence in 1478 is one of the best-known examples of the machinations endemic to the age. While the assailants were the Medici’s rivals, the Pazzi family, questions have always lingered about who really orchestrated the attack, which has come to be known as the Pazzi Conspiracy.
More than five hundred years later, Marcello Simonetta, working in a private archive in Italy, stumbled upon a coded letter written by Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, to Pope Sixtus IV. Using a codebook written by his own ancestor to crack its secrets, Simonetta unearthed proof of an all-out power grab by the Pope for control of Florence. Montefeltro, long believed to be a close friend of Lorenzo de Medici, was in fact conspiring with the Pope to unseat the Medici and put the more malleable Pazzi in their place.
In The Montefeltro Conspiracy , Simonetta unravels this plot, showing not only how the plot came together but how its failure (only one of the Medici brothers, Giuliano, was killed; Lorenzo survived) changed the course of Italian and papal history for generations. In the course of his gripping narrative, we encounter the period’s most colorful characters, relive its tumultuous politics, and discover that two famous paintings, including one in the Sistine Chapel, contain the Medici’s astounding revenge.
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|Title of eBook: The Montefeltro Conspiracy|
|Release Date: 06-03-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Montefeltro Conspiracy
MILAN IS FOR MURDER
In the first half of the fifteenth century Milan was ruled by the Visconti, and only after 1450 by the Sforza. The Visconti had been the most aggressive enemies of Florence. In the heated Florentine pamphlets that were circulating during the early 1400s, attacks on Florence became synonymous with attacks on freedom and on the "Florentine way of life," while the Visconti were rightly portrayed as cruel tyrants. When the condottiere Francesco Sforza suddenly became Duke of Milan and struck the Peace of Lodi (1454), the golden age of the Renaissance started in earnest. Francesco offered military protection to his longtime friend Cosimo de' Medici in exchange for financial support. The solid alliance between Milan and the Medici formed an axis of relative stability within the restless Italian peninsula and enhanced patronage of the arts and letters, sparking an explosion of artistic creativity and humanistic culture.
Under the founder of the Sforza dynasty Milan maintained power and gained wealth and respect. But Francesco's son, Galeazzo Maria, inherited more of the capriciousness of the Visconti from his mother than he did the wisdom of the Sforza from his father. As court poet Antonio Cornazzano eloquently wrote in his Art of Ruling:
Oh how many times the good Duke Francesco
Reproached a son who is no longer
For his crude and violent acts.
"The soul of Duke Giovanni has landed upon you:
It is deep within your bowels!"
He yelled, and so his prophecy came to pass.
Learn from the foul acts of Duke Giovanni
Who fed his dogs with living men
For any other sport bored him.
He met his end in San