The name Medici is intertwined with Florence. It is a name that connotes intrigue, romance and drama. The family members, ruling as the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, were inspired patrons for some of the greatest artwork of the Renaissance. However, their might extended far beyond their borders, they produced four Popes and the Medici Bank was the largest in Europe during the 16th century.
The remains of the families’ influence are not only found in the great monuments in Florence and Rome, they are also found in their vast archives. Because of the Medici Archive Project, people from throughout the world are now able to have access to some of the more than three million private letters and documents that were once only accessible to scholars.
From the Medici Archive Project: The archive of the Medici Grand Dukes is one of the greatest yet least known Medici monuments. Established by Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1569, it offers the most complete record of any princely regime in Renaissance and Baroque Europe. Since this Archive consists mostly of letters (nearly three million filling a full kilometer of shelf-space), it offers an incomparable panorama of two hundred years of human history, as told in the words of the people most immediately involved. However, this unique documentary resource has never been catalogued and indexed, nor microfilmed and accessed by electronic means. Only now, with The Medici Archive Project, is it fulfilling its potential to revolutionize our understanding of the past.