The House of Medici (// MED-i-chee; Italian pronunciation: [de ˈmɛːditʃi]) was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to fund the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, seeing the Medici gain political power in Florence — though officially they remained citizens rather than monarchs.
The Medici produced four Popes of the Catholic Church—Pope Leo X (1513–1521), Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), Pope Pius IV (1559–1565), and Pope Leo XI (1605); two regent queens of France—Catherine de' Medici (1547–1559) and Marie de' Medici (1600–1610); and, in 1531, the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence. In 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici. The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici, Tuscany was fiscally bankrupt.
Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici (August 4, 1463 – May 20, 1503), nicknamed the Popolano, was an Italian banker and politician, and the brother of Giovanni il Popolano. He belonged to the junior (or "Popolani") branch of the House of Medici of Florence.
Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici (3 July 1421 – 23 September 1463) was an Italian banker and patron of arts.
Piero de' Medici (15 February 1472 – 28 December 1503), called Piero the Unfortunate, was the Gran maestro of Florence from 1492 until his exile in 1494.
Lorenzo de' Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the art world, giving large amounts of money to artists so they could create master works of art. His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence. The fragile peace he helped maintain between the various Italian states collapsed with his death. Lorenzo de' Medici is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence.