December 26th, 2013
Episode 343 of 550 episodes
The Medici family dominated Florence's political and cultural life for three centuries. They came to prominence in Italy in the 15th century as a result of the wealth they built up through banking. With the rise of Cosimo de' Medici, they became Florence's most powerful and influential dynasty, effectively controlling the city's government. Their patronage of the arts turned Florence into a leading centre of the Renaissance and the Medici Bank was one of the most successful institutions of its day. As well as producing four popes, members of the Medici married into various European royal families. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Evelyn Welch, Professor of Renaissance Studies at King’s College, University of London; Robert Black, Professor of Renaissance History at the University of Leeds and Catherine Fletcher, Lecturer in Public History at the University of Sheffield.