In Italy for thirty years under the Medici they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock… Orson Welles


florence006Murder of a Medici princess Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008     Caroline P. Murphy Florence (Italy)Court and courtiers History 16th century, Medici, Isabella Romola de’, 1542-1576 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. 397 p., [8] p. of plates: ill. (some col.), map; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 353-379) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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In Murder of a Medici Princess, Caroline Murphy illuminates the brilliant life and tragic death of Isabella de Medici, one of the brightest stars in the dazzling world of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany.

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Murphy’s narrative captures the intrigue, the scandal, the romantic affairs, and the violence that were commonplace in the Florentine court. She brings to life an extraordinary woman, fluent in five languages, a free-spirited patron of the arts, a daredevil, a practical joker, and a passionate lover.

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Isabella, in fact, conducted numerous affairs, including a ten-year relationship with the cousin of her violent and possessive husband. Her permissive lifestyle, however, came to an end upon the death of her father, who was succeeded by her disapproving older brother Francesco. Considering Isabella’s ways to be licentious and a disgrace upon the family, he permitted her increasingly enraged husband to murder her in a remote Medici villa.

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To tell this story, Murphy draws on newly discovered and unpublished documents, ranging from Isabella’s own letters, to the loose-tongued dispatches of ambassadors to Florence, to contemporary descriptions of the opulent parties and balls, salons and hunts in which Isabella and her associates participated. Murphy resurrects the atmosphere of Renaissance Florence, weaving Isabella’s beloved city into her story, evoking the intellectual and artistic community that thrived during her time.

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