Medici: Masters of Florence

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Medici: Masters of Florence
Screenshot Medici Masters of Florence Netflix Title Sequence.png
Genre Historical fiction
Created by
Opening theme Renaissance (From "Medici: Masters of Florence")
by Paolo Buonvino & Skin (musician) [1]
Composer(s) Paolo Buonvino
Country of origin
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Fania Petrocchi
Running time 52 minutes
Production company(s) Lux Vide
Big Light Productions
Rai Fiction
Original network Rai 1 (Italy)
Original release 18 October 2016 (2016-10-18) – present

Medici: Masters of Florence is an Italian-British television drama series about the Medici dynasty set in 15th-century Florence, starring Dustin Hoffman as Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, Richard Madden as Cosimo de' Medici, and Stuart Martin as Lorenzo de' Medici (The Elder). The series was co-created by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files and Man in the High Castle) and Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (The Pillars of the Earth) directed all eight episodes. Episodes 1 and 2 aired on Rai 1 (Italian TV) on 18 October 2016. According to Italian ratings compiler Auditel, it attracted a record 7.6 million viewers.[2] The first season consists of eight episodes.

The show has been renewed for a second season, with Sean Bean appearing as Jacopo de' Pazzi.[3][4] It is broadcast in several countries around the world, on SFR's premium SVOD service Zive in France and Sky 1 in Germany.[5] Netflix carries the show in the US, Canada, Argentina on Fox Premium, the UK, Ireland and India.[6] In Australia, the series was broadcast by SBS.[7] In Portugal, the series was broadcast by RTP1. In Serbia the series was broadcast by RTS2.


The series is set in the 15th-century Florence, and the protagonist is Cosimo the Elder, who was elected head of the Florentine Republic in 1434. Cosimo has inherited the Bank of Medici from his father Giovanni, who has been mysteriously poisoned. Through various flashbacks (20 years prior), we are introduced to Florence at the time of Giovanni, and to his relationship with his sons Cosimo and Lorenzo.



Character Appearances
Season 1 Season 2
Piero de' Medici Alessandro Sperduti Julian Sands
Lucrezia de' Medici Valentina Bellè Sarah Parish
Cosimo de' Medici Richard Madden
Lorenzo de' Medici (The Elder) Stuart Martin
Contessina de' Medici Annabel Scholey
Giovanni de' Medici Dustin Hoffman
Marco Bello Guido Caprino
Ugo Bencini Ken Bones
Rinaldo degli Albizzi Lex Shrapnel
Andrea Pazzi Daniel Caltagirone
Filippo Brunelleschi Alessandro Preziosi
Ormanno Albizzi Eugenio Franceschini
Maddalena Sarah Felberbaum
Bianca Miriam Leone
Ricciardo Michael Schermi
Emilia Tatjana Inez Nardone
Alessandra Albizzi Valentina Cervi
Bernardo Guadagni Brian Cox
Jacopo de' Pazzi Sean Bean
Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) Daniel Sharman
Giuliano de' Medici Bradley James
Sandro Botticelli Sebastian de Souza
Pope Sixtus IV Raul Bova
Lucrezia Donati Alessandra Mastronardi
Alessandro de' Bardi David Bradley
Piccarda de' Medici Frances Barber
Messer Calvacanti Luigi Diberti
Donatello Ben Starr
Pope Eugene IV David Bamber
Antipope John XXIII (Cardinal Cossa) Steven Waddington
Corona Alberto Sette

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]



Historical accuracy[edit]

During an interview at the Roma Fest panel in 2015, Spotnitz stated, "the season will be more thriller than historical saga... we begin the show with a 'what if' because we don't know how Giovanni de' Medici died. One of the questions that haunts Cosimo, is whether his father was murdered".[9]


Several noticeable locations are used throughout the series, in addition to sets and sound stages:

  • Bracciano Castle: The principal courtyards and staircases of the Orsini-Odescalchi castle in Bracciano serve as streets in Florence, a palace in Rome, and the ancestral home of Contessina de' Bardi. The central courtyard in the Castle features a particularly recognisable staircase with the sculpture of a bear; this staircase becomes the principal entrance of the Medici home in Florence with the addition of the Medici Coat of Arms.[10]
  • The Villa Farnese in Caprarola and its gardens: The frescoed and ring-vaulted internal terrace-courtyard of Villa Caprarola doubles as a Medici villa in the series, while an un-frescoed terrace is used as a Vatican property in Rome. The Caprarola secret gardens with their unique fountains are used to represent the Vatican Gardens.[11]

The creators took significant liberties with sets, often showing interior decorations, works of art, and exterior landscapes that were created many years after the events described in the series which occur in the mid-1430s. For example, the Medici Palazzo was built in 1440s–1480s and the Benozzo Gozzoli frescoes of Magi Chapel shown in the Cosimo study were executed in 1459–61. The Lorenzo rooms are decorated with the Giulio Romano fresco "Mars and Venus" which was painted in the 1520s in Palazzo Te in Mantova. During the episode exile in Venice, the church of Santa Maria della Salute built in the 1630s is repeatedly shown as part of the Venice city landscape. Villa Medici contains "Fortitude and Temperance with Six Antique Heroes" by Perugino, painted in 1497.

  • Castle of Santa Severa is Cardinal Baldassarre Cossa's Palace.[12]
  • The medieval oldtown of Viterbo and its Palazzo dei Papi are the set for late medieval Rome.
  • Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli is another set for Rome; Cosimo meets Donatello along the Canopus.
  • Borgo di Rota, a frazione of Tolfa, is the set for Francesco Sforza's army camp and the village where Lorenzo meets mercenary Ferzetti.[13]
  • Pienza: used as the Palazzo Medici, the streets of Florence, and the background for Cosimo's wedding.
  • Montepulciano: Several scenes are filmed outside the Duomo using the unfinished façade of the cathedral as a backdrop. These scenes often incorrectly show the Duomo of Florence rising in the background to the north. The Communal Palace, also in Piazza Grande, is part of several scenes, as is the Church of San Biagio.

Technical Details[edit]

Medici: Masters of Florence was originated in 4k video and broadcast in this format on the free Italian satellite service Tivu whilst on the Italian Digital Terrestrial service DVB-T2 it was broadcast in Full-HD 1920x1080.

Two audio tracks were broadcast: Rai TV gave satellite and terrestrial viewers the option to watch the series in Italian or English.[14]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateItaly viewers
1"Original Sin"Sergio Mimica-GezzanFrank Spotnitz, Nicholas Meyer18 October 2016 (2016-10-18)8.04[15]
When Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici is poisoned his son Cosimo takes over the family bank and asks Marco Bello to investigate the murder. Cosimo is elected to his father's seat on the Signoria where Rinaldo degli Albizzi, the family's rival, is pushing for war with Milan because they attacked Lucca. Twenty years earlier, Giovanni sent Cosimo and his elder brother Lorenzo to Rome with bribes to install a friendly cardinal as Pope and gain control of the Vatican's banking. Cosimo, who wants to be an artist, meets Donatello and falls in love with his beautiful model Bianca, but Giovanni finds out and has the studio shut down driving Bianca away.
2"The Dome and the Domicile"Sergio Mimica-GezzanFrank Spotnitz18 October 2016 (2016-10-18)7.14[16]
The war with Milan is going badly and Florence's economy is in ruins. Cosimo funds Filippo Brunelleschi to build a dome for the cathedral creating work and brokers a deal between Lucca and the Duke of Milan for peace. Twenty years earlier, Giovanni forces Cosimo to marry Contessina, the strong-willed daughter of a noble banker with financial problems, forcing Cosimo to give up his dreams of being an artist.
3"Pestilence"Sergio Mimica-GezzanSophie Petzal25 October 2016 (2016-10-25)6.73[17]
Florence is hit by the Black Plague and Cosimo moves the family to the safety of their estate outside the city. Albizzi turns the people against Cosimo and his dome blaming the plague on God's wrath at the Medici's usury. Cosimo returns to Florence and turns the cathedral into a hospice for plague victims to save the dome. Lorenzo overrules Contessina and sells the family's wool business making their financial problems public. Albizzi has Cosimo arrested after Marco breaks into a house to gather evidence on Giovanni's murder. Twenty years earlier, Cosimo and Contessina struggle to trust each other and make their marriage work.
4"Judgment Day"Sergio Mimica-GezzanAlex von Tunzelmann25 October 2016 (2016-10-25)6.32[18]
Albizzi accuses Cosimo of usury and trying to overthrow the republic. Piero and Contessina try to mount a defense but Cosimo is sentenced to death. Lorenzo buys the Sforza army and threatens to invade Florence. Contessina storms the Signoria on horseback and persuades them to exile Cosimo to prevent war. Twenty years earlier, Cosimo's friend Albizzi tells him that his family lost a valuable ship at sea and Giovanni uses the information to have Albizzi's father declared bankrupt and thrown off the Signoria.
5"Temptation"Sergio Mimica-GezzanFrancesca Gardiner1 November 2016 (2016-11-01)6.50
Albizzi hires mercenaries and exiles the Medici's allies to gain control of Florence. Contessina turns down an offer to flee Florence with her old lover, who she was forced to abandon when she was betrothed to Cosimo. In Venice, Cosimo lobbies The Doge to back his return to Florence, and with information supplied by Contessina thwarts Albizzi's attempt to make an alliance through marriage. The Doge gives Cosimo a beautiful slave named Maddelena whom he teaches to draw and then falls for. Albizzi tries to seize the Signoria but he is betrayed by Pazzi and arrested.
6"Ascendancy"Sergio Mimica-GezzanMark Denton, Jonny Stockwood1 November 2016 (2016-11-01)6.02
Cosimo is welcomed back to Florence and pays off the mercenaries who are terrorising the town because they haven't been paid. Cosimo finally makes up with Contessina and ends his relationship with Maddelena. The Pope seeks sanctuary with the Medici when Rome is attacked. At the Pope's urging, Cosimo persuades the Signoria to show mercy and exile Albizzi instead of executing him. While the Pope blesses Cosimo's cathedral, Albizzi and his son are murdered in the woods by the mercenaries.
7"Purgatory"Sergio Mimica-GezzanEmilia di Girolamo8 November 2016 (2016-11-08)6.42
Cosimo has a local olive merchant elected to the Signoria to fill Albizzi's vacant seat, but the merchant is murdered and Pazzi is elected while Cosimo is absent. After Marco reveals that the apothecary was killed with Lorenzo's dagger, Cosimo has Lorenzo locked in his room. Marco sleeps with Maddelena causing tension with Cosimo. Lorenzo claims Marco framed him to cover up his own involvement in Giovanni's murder, which Marco denies and Cosimo allows him to leave. Ugo reveals that Rosa was carrying Lorenzo's child and Giovanni had her shipped off to a home for unmarried mothers, but they were both killed.
8"Epiphany"Sergio Mimica-GezzanJohn Fay8 November 2016 (2016-11-08)6.26
Rumours of Cosimo's hand in Albizzi's murder result in the Pope transferring the church's banking to Pazzi. Cosimo heads to Rome with money to pay for an army to retake Rome for the Pope. Marco helps Lorenzo to capture Pazzi's assassin and obtain a letter that proves Pazzi's complicity. Pazzi's men kill Lorenzo and free the assassin but Cosimo gives the letter to the Pope and the Medici retain the church's banking. Maddelena is pregnant with Cosimo's child and Contessina decides that Cosimo will acknowledge and raise the bastard. Ugo murdered Giovanni because he ordered him to take Rosa to her death.



  • Winner of the 2016 Capri TV Series Award.


  1. ^ "Renaissance (From "Medici: Masters of Florence")". Creazioni Artistiche Musicali C.A.M. Srl/ Lux Vide. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (21 October 2016). "'Medici' With Dustin Hoffman, Richard Madden Sets Italy Ratings Record". Variety. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Clarke, Stewart (16 June 2017). "Sean Bean and '24' Showrunner Join Second Season of 'Medici' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 16 June 2017. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Medici: Masters of Florence premiering on SBS this April". MediaWeek. 4 April 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke, Stewart (10 August 2017). "Daniel Sharman and Bradley James Join Netflix's 'Medici' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Show Patrol. 17 November 2015.
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