Francesco Salviati (bishop)

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Francesco Salviati Riario was the archbishop of Pisa in 1475. A blood-member of the Riario family, and of the Salviati family (to whom Pope Sixtus IV had re-awarded the papal banking contract after taking it away from the Medici), he was also related by marriage to the Pazzi, Medici, Vettori, and other powerful families. Orphaned at a young age, Salviati was educated as a humanist but vied to succeed in the church, knowing he could not rise to power in the family after losing his father. Pro-Medici sources paint Salviati as a flatterer and gambler who lusted for the power that could be attained through church favour.

In 1464, Salviati moved to Rome to attach himself to Francesco della Rovere – who later became Pope Sixtus IV – and his nephews, Girolamo and Pietro Riario. This paid off in his appointment as archbishop.

The Medici family of Florence opposed his appointment as archbishop and so in spring 1478, he sent to Florence his nephew Raffaele Riario to lure both Lorenzo and Giuliano to the Duomo for assassination in the Pazzi conspiracy, and invited him to a mass at the Duomo at which the assassination would take place. When the bell that was rung during the elevation rang, Salviati was to go to the Palazzo Vecchio, kill the Gonfaloniere Petrucci and take possession of the Palazzo della Signoria, whilst the main killing occurred in the cathedral, but on arriving there he was arrested by Petrucci and within an hour had been hanged by a lynch mob from the window of the Sala dei Duecento. Salviati's death at the hands of the Florentines was a key factor behind the interdict placed upon Florence and the ensuing two years war with the Papacy.

In popular culture[edit]

In Assassin's Creed II, which contains a fictional version of the conspiracy, Salviati had merely led Pazzi-allied troops into Florence and was able to flee to his villa in the Tuscan countryside (an unfortunate farmer being hanged in his place), only to be hunted down and slain in 1479 by the assassin Ezio Auditore.

Sources[edit]