Lorenzo de' Medici aka known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) born on 1st January 1449 was the De facto ruler of the Florentine Republic. He was one of the most enthusiastic and powerful patrons during the Renaissance period. He is known for his contribution to art by sponsoring renowned artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo. He managed to maintain peace among the Italian states until his death on 9th April 1492. He was buried in the Medici Chapel of Florence. Lorenzo married Clarice Orsini on 4 June 1469 who was a daughter to Giacomo Orsini, Lord of Monterotondo.
Cosimo de' Medici, Lorenzo's grandfather, was the first person in the Medici family to run the Medici Bank and lead the Republic of Florence at the same time. Cosimo as at then was one of the wealthiest men in Europe, and he spent a huge portion of his wealth in government and philanthropy. Piero di Cosimo de' Medici, Lorenzo's father, was an art collector and patron, while his uncle, Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici, was in charge of the family's business interests. His mother, Lucrezia Tornabuoni, wrote sonnets and loved the philosophers and poets of the Medici Academy. She became an advisor to her son after the deaths of his father and uncle.
Lorenzo was sent on many important diplomatic missions by his father as a youth, which included trips to Rome to meet prominent political and religious figures including the pope.
Lorenzo, assumed the position of De facto ruler of Florence upon the death of his father in 1469, at the age of twenty. Several rival Florentine families eventually began to harbor resentments over the dominance of the Medici’s'; this continued in Florence long after Lorenzo's death. The most notable rival family was the Pazzi, who almost succeeded in bringing Lorenzo's reign to an end.
The Pazzi Conspiracy
On 26 April 1478, on Easter Sunday, a group that included members of the Pazzi family, with the support of the Archbishop of Pisa and Pope Sixtus IV, attacked Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano, at the Cathedral of Florence. His brother was murdered, and Lorenzo only managed to escape with a stab wound. The Pazzi conspiracy was brutally cut short by the lynching of the Archbishop of Pisa and the killing of the Pazzi family members who were involved in the plot.
After brutally putting down the Pazzi conspiracy Pope Sixtus IV's seized all the Medici assets he could find, and excommunicated Lorenzo and Florence. When these moves proved abortive, Sixtus formed an alliance with King Ferdinand I of Naples, which led to an invasion of the Florentine Republic by King Ferdinand's son Alfonso, the Duke of Calabria.
Lorenzo rallied the citizens of Florence. However, since there was little support from the Medici allies in Milan and Bologna, the war dragged on. The crisis was ultimately resolved by diplomacy when Lorenzo traveled to Naples. This allowed Lorenzo to make constitutional changes within the government of Florence, which further enhanced his position and power. Lorenzo, made it his object to maintain peace and balance power among the northern states of Italy and keeping the other central European countries like the Holy Roman Empire's Habsburg rulers and France out of Italy. Lorenzo maintained a good relationship with Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, as the maritime trade between Florence and the Ottomans was a primary source of the Medici wealth.