|Place of origin||Italy|
|Notable members||Francesco de' Pazzi, Jacopo de' Pazzi|
The Pazzi were a noble Tuscan family, particularly notable in the medieval and Renaissance periods. In 1342 they gave up their titles of nobility so that members could be elected to public office. Their main trade during the 15th century was banking. Members of the family were in the Pazzi conspiracy to assassinate Giuliano de' Medici and his brother Lorenzo de' Medici on 26 April 1478. Andrea de' Pazzi was the patron of the chapter-house for the Franciscan community at the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence, the Pazzi Chapel.
The family name derives from "Il Pazzo", "the madman", was the first soldier over the walls in the Siege of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, who brought away with him and took back to Florence a stone from the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The Pazzi family was accorded the privilege of striking a light from this stone on Holy Saturday when all fires in the city were extinguished, from which the altar light of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore was annually rekindled. On the following day, Easter Day, a dove-shaped rocket was made to slide on a wire from above the high altar to an oxcart loaded with fireworks in the piazza. From the explosion of the fireworks, the scoppio del carro, sparks were carried to the hearths of the city.
The Pazzi Chapel was built under the direction of Filippo Brunelleschi in a discreet cloister of the Franciscan church of Santa Croce. The chapel was begun in 1442. It is severely restrained, made of pietra serena and white plaster, unrelieved by colour, and capped with a hemispherical dome, completed after Brunelleschi's death in accordance with his plans.
Palazzo Pazzi (Palazzo Pazzi-Quaratesi)
The main seat of the family, at canto Pazzi, where Borgo degli Albizi crosses the via del Proconsolo, was rebuilt 1462–72 for Jacopo de' Pazzi to designs by Giuliano da Maiano, the sculptor-architect favored by the family. Above its wholly traditional rusticated ground floor of the yellow-ochre sandstone Florentines call pietra forte it has a stuccoed facade in a new taste, with delicate designs round the windows in the manner associated with Brunelleschi. The central court is surrounded on three sides by round-headed arcading, with circular bosses in the spandrels.
Next to it is the smaller 16th-century three-story Palazzo Pazzi-Ammannati, rebuilt for Antonio Ramirez di Montalvo, housing Florence's small museum of natural history and host to temporary exhibitions. Its design is attributed to Bartolomeo Ammanati.
The Pazzi were involved in the conspiracy, plotted at their property the Castello del Trebbio at Pontassieve (now a winery and tourist site), to replace the de' Medici as rulers of Florence, which bears their name. Pope Sixtus IV gave tacit but not explicit support to the conspirators. The "conspiracy room" can be visited at the Castello. On 26 April 1478 there was an attempt to assassinate Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother Giuliano de' Medici. Lorenzo was wounded but survived; Giuliano was killed. The partial failure of the plot served to strengthen the position of the de' Medici. The Pazzi were banished from Florence.
After the overthrow of Piero de' Medici in 1494, the Pazzi family, and many other political exiles, returned to Florence to participate in the popular government. A notable member of the Pazzi family after the events surrounding the conspiracy and exile was Magdalena de Pazzi, who became a Carmelite nun.
Two members of the Pazzi family are placed in hell in Dante's Inferno, both in the circle of the traitors; The Divine Comedy's reference has nothing to do with the Pazzi Conspiracy, since it was written nearly 200 years earlier.
Vittorio Alfieri's drama La congiura de' Pazzi (first performance 1787, first published 1789) is a version of the story of the conspiracy, as is Lorenzo Antonini's historical novel of 1877 with the same title.
The Pazzi Family is featured as villains in the video game Assassin's Creed 2.
- Michele Girardi. Medici, I. In: Stanley Sadie (ed.) The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed May 2015. (subscription required).
- Tim Parks' review of Lauro Martines, April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici[dead link]: a sketch of the subtleties and contradictions in the background to the "Pazzi conspiracy"
- Italy's Medici Murder Plot Solved: discusses a recently discovered piece of evidence showing the scale of the conspiracy
- Great Buildings on-line: Pazzi Chapel
- Pazzi Chapel: Brief description, with clear and evocative photos
- Susan and Joanna Horner, Walks in Florence and Its Environs (London 1873): Chapter xvii
- Narrative account, part of an on-line history of Quattrocento Florence
- Description of the Easter assassinations and other famous murders of the period
- Marcello Simonetta, The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded: Doubleday website with slideshow of paintings and documents related to the Pazzi Conspiracy