Of the three branches sprouted by the first two Medici brothers to leave Mugello and make their home in Florence, Charissimo and Bunigunta, only one branch of the Medici tree is still alive, still thriving…that of Charissimo’s grandson Averado. And though this generation was born under trying circumstances, more than one made their mark and forwarded the prestige and power of the family.
Though there is more than one member who did little to bring individual distinction, they were, no doubt, part of the overall family efforts to redeem the family name and expand their holdings and business in Florence. Talento, son of Salvestro de’ Averado and Lisa Donato appears to have done nothing of note, including remaining unmarried and childless. Marco de’ Medici married twice, both times into power families, which could only have lent power to the rebuilding efforts of the Medici.
Marco’s second wife came from the Strozzi family, a family whose history is deeply entwined with the Medici; from rivals to combatants to return once more to family by marriage.
The title of indisputable forerunner of his generation belongs to Giovanni di Conte de’ Medici, a great condottieri (soldier/knight) and statesman. The very lofty titles held by Giovanni include gonfaloniere (governor) of Florence in 1349, 1353, and 1356; vicario (vicar) in Pescia (a city in the Provence of Pistoia) in 1346; and podestà (police chef) of Prato in 1365. Giovanni carried out many a military and diplomatic mission outside of Florence, including Pistoia, Piedmont, Lucca, Sienna, and Milan. As Captain of the province of Muguello, a rank awarded in 1351, Giovanni, along with his uncle Salvestro, defended the Castle of Scarperia against Visconti siege. The next year finds him among the ambassadors in Naples sent by the Florentine Republic to pay homage to Queen Giovanna I. In 1355, this obvious type-A personality rode at the head of 200 Florentine Knights as the escorted Charles IV to Rome to be crowned Emperor. It is a wonder he had any time for anything else. And yet he did.
For all Giovanni’s contributions to Florence and to the Medici family, including siring a son, his accomplishments would not turn out to be the most lasting.
|Averado de' Medici|