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Lorenzino de' Medici

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Title: Lorenzino de' Medici  
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Subject: House of Medici, Florentine Histories, Italian assassins, Duke of Florence, The Traitor (play)
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Lorenzino de' Medici

Lorenzino de' Medici
Spouse(s) Elena Barozzi
Lorenzina de' Medici
Noble family Medici
Father Pierfrancesco II de' Medici
Mother Maria Soderini
Born (1514-03-23)23 March 1514
Died 26 February 1548(1548-02-26) (aged 33)

Lorenzino de' Medici (March 23, 1514 – February 26, 1548), sometimes called Lorenzaccio de' Medici, was an Italian writer remembered primarily as the assassin of Alessandro de' Medici, duke and ruler of Florence.


Lorenzino was born in Florence, Italy, the son of Pierfrancesco II de' Medici and Maria Soderini. He was educated at Camerino together with Cosimo and Alessandro de' Medici. He and the latter were later involved in several public scandals involving their escapades. In 1526 Lorenzino was brought with Cosimo to Venice to escape the Landsknechts falling on Florence, and was also saved from the expulsion of the Medici from that city following the Sack of Rome which crushed the power of the most powerful member of the family, Pope Clement VII. After a period in Veneto, Bologna and Rome (where he gained the nickname Lorenzaccio, "Bad Lorenzo", for his habit of decapitating statues), he returned to his native city in 1530, after the end of the Imperial siege which installed Alessandro as duke.

Probably prompted by Filippo Strozzi, Lorenzino and the killer Scoronconcolo murdered duke Alessandro on January 5, 1537. Lorenzino entrapped Alessandro through the ruse of a promised arranged sexual encounter with Lorenzino's young aunt, Caterina, abandoned by her husband, Leonardo de' Ginori, a disreputable spendthrift and gambler, who fled to Naples to escape his creditors. After this, he fled to Bologna, and from there to Venice, Turkey, France, and then back to Venice. He wrote a public defense of his actions (the Apologia), claiming that, as an ideal heir of Marcus Junius Brutus, dedication to human liberty had forced him to kill Alessandro. As a writer, Lorenzino also authored the play Aridosio, which gained him notable critics.

Cosimo I de' Medici became Duke of Florence, and condemned Lorenzino to death. Two assassins in Cosimo's pay killed Lorenzino in 1548 in front of his lover's house at Campo San Polo, Venice.


  • Luigi Alberto Ferrai, Lorenzino de' Medici e la societa' cortigiana del Cinquecento (Milan: Hoepli. 1891)
  • Stefano Dall'Aglio, L'assassino del duca. Esilio e morte di Lorenzino de' Medici (Florence: L.S. Olschki. 2011)

External links

  • Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman, possibly Lorenzino de' Medici
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