Murder of a Medici Princess

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-04-18
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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In Murder of a Medici Princess, Caroline Murphy illuminates the brilliant life and tragic death of Isabella de Medici, one of the brightest stars in the dazzling world of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany. Murphy is a superb storyteller, and her fast-paced narrative captures the intrigue, the scandal, the romantic affairs, and the violence that were commonplace in the Florentine court. She brings to life an extraordinary woman, fluent in five languages, a free-spirited patron of the arts, a daredevil, a practical joker, and a passionate lover. Isabella, in fact, conducted numerous affairs, including a ten-year relationship with the cousin of her violent and possessive husband. Her permissive lifestyle, however, came to an end upon the death of her father, who was succeeded by her disapproving older brother Francesco. Considering Isabella's ways to be licentious and a disgrace upon the family, he permitted her increasingly enraged husband to murder her in a remote Medici villa. To tell this dramatic story, Murphy draws on a vast trove of newly discovered and unpublished documents, ranging from Isabella's own letters, to the loose-tongued dispatches of ambassadors to Florence, to contemporary descriptions of the opulent parties and balls, salons and hunts in which Isabella and her associates participated. Murphy resurrects the exciting atmosphere of Renaissance Florence, weaving Isabella's beloved city into her story, evoking the intellectual and artistic community that thrived during her time. Palaces and gardens in the city become places of creativity and intrigue, sites of seduction, and grounds for betrayal. Here then is a narrative of compelling and epic proportions, magnificent and alluring, decadent and ultimately tragic.

Author Biography

Caroline P. Murphy is a cultural historian and biographer who lives in Cambridge, Mass. She is the author of Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons in Sixteenth-Century Bologna and The Pope's Daughter: The Extraordinary Life of Felice Della Rovere.

Table of Contents

Map of Florence and Medici Family Treep. ix
Prologue: A Summer's Day at Cerreto Guidip. 1
A Medici Childhood
The New Medicip. 7
'I Have Never Seen a More Beautiful Baby Girl'p. 19
Growing up Medicip. 34
Approaching Adulthoodp. 45
A Medici Princess Grows Up
A Bridegroom for Isabellap. 53
Medici Weddingsp. 63
Zibellini and a Hat Full of Muskp. 69
The Duke and Duchess of Braccianop. 78
'My Brother and I'p. 86
Overcome by Sorrowp. 95
The First Lady of Florence
After Eleonorap. 109
At Home with Paolo and Isabellap. 120
Debtp. 128
Conflictp. 133
The Baroncellip. 141
The Theatre of Isabellap. 149
Fidelitiesp. 159
Troilop. 165
A 'Clandestine' Affairp. 170
Medici Machinations
The Imperial Sister-in-Lawp. 181
Family Livesp. 189
Grand Dukep. 198
Cammillap. 204
'I Turchi'p. 211
Lepanto and Don Giovannip. 218
Puttip. 225
Biancap. 232
An Assassinationp. 237
The Best of Timesp. 243
The Troubles of a Medici Princess
The Decline of Cosimop. 253
The Children's Negotiationp. 260
'My Coming'p. 267
The New Ambassadorp. 272
Leonorap. 278
The Duelling Seasonp. 282
The Pucci Conspiracyp. 289
Troilo, Banditop. 294
Final Acts
The New Yearp. 305
A Trip to Cafaggiolop. 314
A Trip to Cerreto Guidip. 319
'As If She Imagined What Was in Store for Her'p. 323
Post-Mortemp. 328
The Culling Continuedp. 334
The Assassin's Talep. 339
Epilogue: Isabella Eternap. 345
Bibliographyp. 353
Notesp. 361
List of platesp. 381
Acknowledgementsp. 383
Indexp. 385
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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