Italy

Individuals and events in Italy during the European Middle Ages.

Lorenzo de’ Medici: The Magnificent Ruler

Family Background On January 1, 1449, Lorenzo de’ Medici was born in Florence, Italy. The Medici were an influential family that had gained their wealth through banking. Lorenzo’s grandfather, Cosimo, had established many branches throughout Europe. In turn, his banking abilities made him one of the wealthiest men of his time. Cosimo later used his money to gain political power […]

Calixtus III: The First Borgia Pope

Early Life On December 31, 1378, Pope Calixtus III was born Alonso Borgia in Jativa, Aragon (Spain). The Borgias were an aristocratic family that had gained prestige during the reign of King James I. In 1240, Alonso’s ancestor, Esteban de Borja, had played a role in expelling the Muslims in Valencia. In gratitude, James ennobled the Borgia family. By the […]

Alexander VI: The Sinful Pope

Early Life Alexander VI was born around 1431 as Rodrigo Borgia in Jativa, Spain. At a young age, Rodrigo came under the supervision of his uncle, Alonso de Borgia. As the Bishop of Valencia, Alonso oversaw his nephew’s education. When Rodrigo became a teenager, Alonso began to reward his nephew with church offices. As a result, Rodrigo received his first […]

Boniface VIII: The Strong-Willed Pope

Early Life Boniface VIII was born around 1235 as Benedetto Caetani in Anagni, Italy. The Caetanis were an established and noble family. As Benedetto got older, he first studied law before entering the service of the papal government. Throughout his time in government, Benedetto gradually transitioned from lawyer to priest. Growing Prominence In 1281, Pope Martin IV elevated Benedetto to […]

Cesare Borgia: The Papal Prince

Early Life Cruelty and ruthlessness defined his life. Cesare Borgia’s birth and birthplace are uncertain. However, it’s believed that he was born around 1475 in Rome. The second of four illegitimate children, Cesare was the son of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and noblewoman Vanozza Catanei. As the second son, Cesare’s career path lay with the church. Because of this, he received […]