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The Festive Conquest : Military Urbanism and Medici Court Celebrations, 1515-1637

Laura Kramer

Comment citer cette publication :
Laura Kramer, The Festive Conquest : Military Urbanism and Medici Court Celebrations, 1515-1637, mémoire de master, 2008, University of Illinois at Chicago, éditée sur Cour de le 1er octobre 2014 (

Pour des raisons juridiques les images n’ont pas été reproduites. Des liens mènent vers des illustrations disponibles en ligne. Les cartes ont été produites par l’auteur (copyright : Laura Kramer)

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As depicted by Giovanni Stradano (Image 2) in the Palazzo Vecchio, the spectacular Entry of Pope Leo X in Florence in 1515 invites comparisons to victorious, conquering generals of ancient Rome returning home laden with spoils of war.

Giovanni Stradano, fresco in Room of Pope Leo X, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

In this new interpretation of the theme, Giovanni de’ Medici had recently “conquered” the papacy and was now entering as victor to his native Florence, surrendered to him in 1512 after his merciless sack of neighboring Prato. [1] Whereas the ancient Roman “triumphator” was to be followed by a buffoon to remind him of his own mortality and to pacify the gods, the renaissance Pope removed any unsightly checks or balances in his image of supreme power. [2] Waving benevolently from beneath a baldachin and surrounded by a formidable entourage of red-hatted cardinals, Pope Leo X paraded victoriously through an urban landscape transformed into a second Rome by means of extravagant, monumental decorations. One of these decorations, the gigantic statue of Hercules, stood in the Loggia dei Lanzi, visible in the background of Stradano’s representation and, together with the marble statue of David by Michelangelo (finished in 1504), created a symmetrical and imposing frame to the final destination of town hall. Stradano, it seems, carefully choreographed Leo’s movements to pass between these two invincible warriors, alluding to the pope’s natural progression on a path of conquest.

The pre-dynastic Florentine republic had a rich medieval tradition of utilizing urban space for processions and celebrations. Involving all strata of the populace, these religious and secular rituals were often organized by confraternities and guilds, each creating its own float and decoration and acting as a protagonist in the theatrical metamorphosis of urban space. Only thirty years prior to Leo’s entry, Lorenzo de’ Medici

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was known for promoting public participation in carnival events. [3] And before him, bands of local people were encouraged to take center stage on the city streets and parade in costumes, decorate carts and sing songs. The medieval republic had promoted the idea of a consensual civic image in its performance of symbolic narratives.
Over the course of the sixteenth century, however, the Medici dukes [4] completely removed the populace as participant in the moment of civic ritual. The public displays they organized took on a new character and popular festivals were transformed into state occasions that had an auto-celebratory format. The general populace was excluded from direct participation, its role reduced to that of spectator. For the most part, scholars writing on Renaissance courtly festivals emphasize the agenda of legitimization of rule, the conflation of the ruler’s virtues to those of mythological and allegorical figures, and the desire to dazzle the audience with sophistication and extravagance. [5] In this paper, I would like to focus instead on one of the darker levels of narrative that these festivals offer, that of the ruler’s subtle but clear message of willful appropriation of urban space, the marginalization of local populace, and heightened control over everyday activities.
In many ways this aggressive, militaristic character can be connected to the larger phenomenon of military culture that deeply pervaded European society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Cities from Scotland to the borders of the Ottoman Empire were building massive citadels and waging costly sieges, and educational curriculum often included geometry with military applications. Art, architecture and print culture were often permeated with signs of militaristic virtues and ideals, and even peaceful events might be given the exciting war-like effect of gunshots or fireworks. [6] In the

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following pages I will look at precisely how this new cultural message was encoded into the Medici triumphal entry and festival, and how it left a lasting effect upon Florentine urban topography. Five triumphal entrances and five urban festivities will be examined not for their splendor or claims of divine will, but rather as ritualistic performances of the ruler’s political strength, of which the thinly veiled mask of colorful extravagance revealed an underlying narrative of aggression towards the populace. Over time, this message was indelibly stamped onto the urban landscape by means of equestrian statues, columns and monumental civic buildings, acting as perpetual signifiers for absolute power.
From 1515 to circa 1616, the Medici court celebrations might be described as a “festive urban conquest,” a large-scale theatrical attack involving massive numbers of people and materials waged by a ruler upon of his own subjects and their everyday living space. Just as the ludic aspects of siege warfare in the sixteenth century have been noted, [7] likewise the urban festivity can be analyzed for its bellicose undertones. Parading under the glamorous auspices of felicitous occasions, an ulterior aspiration of these events was to redefine urban space as “grand-ducal space” by mapping symbols of power permanently onto the city fabric and onto the psyche of the populace. Just like a real conquest, the sovereign’s entrance constituted the full appropriation of civic space, the disruption of daily activities and the displacement of the citizen as protagonist on the urban stage. Reduced to a marginal role of spectator/witness, the populace was left with no choice other than to surrender to the invading sovereign.

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The process of marginalization was also an intellectual one. Whether intentional or not, the iconographical programs of the urban festivities were often so complex that only the most highly educated citizens could grasp their meaning. We know, for instance, that in the 1565 festivities for the marriage of Giovanna d’Austria and Francesco I, the twenty-one-float procession of the Geneology of the Gods was so overwhelming that spectators complained vehemently they were not able to discern the meanings due to the overabundance of material. With so many figures, costumes, symbols and decorations that moved by with such speed there was not enough time to analyze, let alone understand, their significance. Only the most erudite spectator could hope to enjoy the event fully, yet the multitude was excluded from all but the most basic appreciation for the material luxury. [8]
Foreigners may also have felt particularly alienated from the highly complex artistic programs employed in royal entrances. A German diarist writing for the Bavarian court and present for the entrance of Giovanna d’Austria neglects the names of the churches, squares and monuments in favor of detailed descriptions of clothing and music. His alienation can be perceived by the way he speaks briefly and dismissively about the triumphal arches, which “though they were highly regarded by all who understand such matters, especially because of their invention, nevertheless [they were] not particularly rated by those who do not understand such things.” [9]
If this psychological and physical invasion of urban space can justly be defined as a performative “siege/conquest,” then what was the nature of the artillery employed ? The Medici dukes artfully used their own subjects as manpower. The complete transformation

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of the city could be realized only by means of a veritable army of programmers, poets, carpenters, painters, guilders, musicians, dancers, singers, costume designers, seamstresses, and technicians. An irresistible demand was made on every person and resource of the city to contribute time, energy and artistic talent. The weapons brandished by the Medici organizers were a dazzling ensemble of monumental triumphal arches complete with inscriptions, enormous painted canvases, sculpture, obelisks, columns, and even faux facades. Passing through and in front of these space-altering structures were hundreds of elegantly dressed aristocrats riding on specially appointed carriages, accompanied by musicians playing music expressly commissioned for the event. Theatrical events, such as La Guerra d’Amore discussed below, called for magnificent floats pulled by fantastical animals and carrying exotically costumed actors, dancers, and musicians.
Through graphic representation the audience of these events was extended beyond the city borders to other courts of Europe. Thus, the multiple layered message of dominance, divinely ordained rule, magnificence and, finally, of a ruler who was capable of seizing urban space at will, was transmitted at home and abroad.
I will begin with a brief discussion of performance rituals, their function in reproducing the norms of society, and how they were utilized in the Medici court environment to marginalize the populace. I will look specifically at two types of Medici “sieges/conquests” on the city center : the triumphal entrance and the localized urban festivity. Finally, I will end with the artworks and monuments that were permanently mapped onto the Florentine cityscape, the axes they created, and their function as

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perpetual reminders of these rituals of dominance. I will argue that the very success achieved by these urban festivities to appropriate urban space and marginalize the populace contributed greatly to their demise in the mid-seventeenth century.

Performance rituals

The entrances and dynastic festivities of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries exemplify complex, societal performance rituals that can be interpreted through anthropological analysis. As described by the influential cultural anthropologist Victor Turner in 1981, rituals and theatrical performances provide the moment in which cultures are most keenly aware of their own identity. Each culture enacts rituals that put into motion a convergence of their history, values and future aspirations. [10] In Turner’s view, society should not be viewed as a fixed structural hierarchy, but rather a continuously flowing, reforming structure. Society is a force that “flows,” and may be seen as steering its individuals down a stream of “proven” values. The performance of rites of passage helps society attain its goal to re-incorporate the people who have not yet adopted the codified values and behaviors. The “limen” or psychological “threshold” is the stage where old social structures are broken down and new ones, known as “communitas” are formed. [11]
In Turner’s vision of cultural change through rites of passage, the goal of public ritual is to define each person’s place in the culture’s value system. All participants in the rituals, whether they are protagonists or not, act out their places in society and tacitly approve the newly formed structures. In the Renaissance case of a new sovereign or entering bride, a triumphal entrance transformed the marginal person from “outsider” to “insider,” from

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“foreigner” to “head of state” and in the case of the marriages, from “betrothed” to (in the case of Florence) “Duchess.” The subjected populace, from aristocratic courtier to merchant, from monk to artisan, experienced the ritual as a reflexive moment of self-knowledge, when both physical and metaphorical distance from the sovereign was measured. In the case of Medici festivities, it was also the moment when the sovereign asserted absolute power and the populace, through consensual participation, surrendered.
The commencement of the triumphal procession marked the moment in which the citizen and sovereign entered into a transitional realm. This realm was constituted primarily by the physical urban topography, but with an overlay of the mythical city inhabited by gods and goddesses, honored past rulers, allegorical figures and local heroes. When the procession began, it sparked an animated dialogue between sovereign, citizen, and this multi-faceted actual and imaginary realm. The rite of passage enticed them forward, educated them of their past and their values, sanctified their union, and codified for each a specific, mapped position in relation to the urban space and to one another. The moment of this ritual enactment can be defined as “liminal,” as the populace and sovereign re-aligned themselves and codified a new social structure. In the case of Leo X and the four brides who became duchesses and grand duchesses, each time the citizens had to realign their allegiances to the new sovereign, to their familial ties and to the lands in which they ruled. Just as Leo X’s Rome was “mapped” onto the urban landscape of Florence in the recreation of its monuments and conquests, it was also destined to be incorporated into each citizen’s mental landscape. Likewise, the heritage of Eleonora, Giovanna, Cristina and Maria Maddalena were each in turn traced onto the Florentine

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streets and impressed upon their subjects’ perception of the new social order. During the ritual, time was at once flowing and still ; the movement of the procession intersected with symbols and historic figures whose presence has already permanently marked the landscape.

Triumphal Entrances into Florence

The five principal Florentine triumphal entries to be examined here range from the early sixteenth century to the early seventeenth century. I will begin with Pope Leo X in 1515 and continue with Eleonora of Toledo in 1539, Giovanna d’Austria in 1565, Cristina di Lorena in 1589 and Maria Maddalena d’Austria in 1608. These were not the only major entrances made into Florence for this period, but they encompass those made by foreign brides who, upon having entered into the city, became sovereigns. Excluded is Bianca Cappello, Francesco I’s second wife, who was regaled with many important festivities but who did not have a triumphal entrance. Added instead is Pope Leo X, because his entrance set the grandiose precedent for those to follow and also because he was the de facto ruler of Florence after the sack of Prato in 1512.
All members of ruling families or high-ranking religious and secular officials expected some kind of a formal welcome when entering a city outside their own territory. [12] The level of reception they were given defined the status of both the host and the guest. The distance from the city where the guest was met, the total length of the itinerary through the city, and the number of military displays and other entertainments, were all carefully calculated to reflect the relationship of power and respect between visitor and host. The entrate in this paper are a special subset of the highest level of entrances, those of the

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papacy and of royalty. More specifically, the Florentine entrances under examination dealt with members of foreign royal families who arrive and, after completing the elaborate itinerary, were symbolically transformed into local sovereigns. Thus, as we might imagine, the scale of elaborate displays surpassed even the entries of the most powerful visiting foreign rulers in order to enhance both the local ruling family’s image and that of the entering bride/sovereign.
An important new aspect of the sixteenth-century entrata was its militaristic component. Gun salutes became a regular feature of both official welcomes and farewells, and often foot soldiers and cavalry were called upon to put on elaborate displays. The moment of the entry also provided the pretext for a flexing of state military muscle. In a letter dated February 20, 1565 written by Cosimo I to the imperial court, the grand duke pleads his case for a bride for his son by giving a detailed description of his financial and military potential. [13] At the moment of the entrance of Giovanna d’Austria, Cosimo substantiated his claim by making a grand display of his military power to the imperial entourage. These displays would grow to become ever more theatrical throughout the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with grandiose events such as the Naumachia and the Gioco del Ponte, which will be discussed further on. Along with the celebratory pomp surrounding the ruling family, the verification and communication of the sovereign’s militaristic capacity also became a prime component of royal wedding triumphal entrances.

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Pope Leo X, 1515

This new genre of celebration was inaugurated in Florence just after the re-instatement of Medici power in 1512 following the family’s forced exile in 1494. Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici was elected Pope Leo X in 1513 and, in 1515, he made his triumphal entrée into his native city (Fig. 3), marking his transformation from an exiled citizen to an honored local hero, from foreigner (head of the Church and papal states) to de facto ruler of Florence. He had the unique position of being able to play both the role of the honored papal guest as well as the local host, transforming both into one position of supreme power. The liminal moment of transition was marked by his entrance through the Porta Romana, the gate that looks south towards Rome, and his movement through the city to his destination of Santa Maria Novella, where a specially appointed apartment awaited him. Once Leo crossed the Arno, his route followed the path of the ancient military castrum walls (built sometime after its founding by Julius Caesar in 59 BCE) [14] that once delineated the city. [15] Leo’s trajectory celebrated the Roman heritage of the city and its eternal lineage as “a daughter of Rome,” while also forming a constricting, siege-like embrace that metaphorically surrounded and conquered the urban center.

Entry of Leo X, 1515

As a newly elected Pope, Leo had already made the traditional procession from the Vatican to San Giovanni in Laterano, the cathedral of Rome. Known as the possesso, or possession, it signifies the Pope’s assumption of spiritual and temporal leadership over the diocese of the eternal city. [16] His re-possesso of his native city involved a complex decorative program of seven arches dedicated to theological and cardinal virtues interspersed throughout the procession. In addition, in piazza San Felice there was an arch with canvases portraying Lorenzo il Magnifico welcoming his son home, and in

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piazza Santa Trinita an obelisk and an immense circular building resembling Castel Sant’Angelo that totally blocked off the entrances to Via Tornabuoni and Via del Parione, obliging the procession to turn down Via Porta Rossa. [17] This audacious installation of the papal stronghold into the heart of the city gave the message of papal military power, while physically assaulting ordinary movement through the city.
With each step, Pope Leo consecrated the power of ancient Rome and its mythical heroes onto the Florentine urban landscape and the consciousness of its subjects. The procession continued on to meet a giant historiated column, recalling Trajan’s column, in the Mercato Nuovo, and in piazza della Signoria the above-mentioned statue of Hercules joined a temple dedicated to Justice. The procession made its way through more decorative structures at the Cathedral, including a temporary new façade, and culminated in an equestrian statue of Julius Caesar in piazza Santa Maria Novella, conflating the founder of Imperial Rome and the city of Florence into Leo’s inauguration of a new golden era. [18] Florence was so laden, it seemed, with imperial imagery that one eye-witness, Stephanus Ioanninensis, repeated five times over that the city appeared to be fully transformed into Rome. [19] Leo’s festive entrance, it might be concluded, was not only that of a conquerer who came to display his power to his subjugated citizens, but was also a psychological siege on Florence by the entire Roman urbis, overlaying and appropriating its urban space.

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The Militaristic Rule of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici

The period between Leo X’s and Eleonora of Toledo’s entrances, was marked by the rule of the aggressively militaristic duke Alessandro de’ Medici, builder of the immense citadel with two canon-bearing bastions that faced menacingly towards the city’s interior populace. Alessandro’s political discourse was anything but subtle : he put Florence under the direct threat of siege by his own government. Despite the fortress’s name of San Giovanni, the patron saint of Florence, and the pride it may have inspired in some for its great size, it would have been difficult for the populace to believe in its protective qualities and cultivate affection towards its looming presence. [20] Designed by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane, it was the largest structure to ever have been built on Florentine urban landscape and sent a clearly threatening message to anyone who might oppose Medici rule. In addition, Alessandro was known for his bodyguards, or “lanzichinecchi,” who accompanied him through the city and were stationed in the loggia outside Palazzo Vecchio (hence known as the “loggia dei Lanzi”). These guards were responsible for introducing militaristic fashions that permeated courtly styles throughout the rest of the century, and were characterized by colorful pantaloons and slashed fabrics. Finally, Alessandro was known for imposing some of the military architectural ideas in a violent way on urban streets. He ordered demolition of “sportelli” or upper-floor housing additions cantilevered on brackets. [21] His reasons may have been twofold : he may have wanted to insure easy movement of his troops through the city streets if necessary, and he may have also desired a more spacious, ordered and regular urban space that would adhere to the principles espoused in contemporary military treatises. [22]

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Eleonora da Toledo, 1539
Alessandro’s successor, Cosimo I, adopted a more double-edged, diplomatic approach towards the populace with his wedding festivities to Eleonora of Toledo. On the one hand, the young duke personally ordered a vast array of “exuberant and joyful and ornate decorations” to greet the new duchess at her arrival in Pisa and lead her to Florence. [23] Her point of entry into the city changed from Leo X’s Porta Romana to the Porta al Prato (Fig. 4, itinerary 1) in correspondence to her arrival by boat at Pisa. Eleonora’s route carefully avoided passing by the menacing fortezza, despite its proximity to her chosen point of entry. Possibly Eleonora (and Cosimo) hoped to distance themselves from the despotic figure of Alessandro and his terrible murder by his cousin “Lorenzaccio” de’ Medici in 1537. [24] The 1539 entry also paid less homage to the Roman castrum than did Leo X. The decorations at the Prato gate consisted of a massive triumphal arch and an equestrian monument to Cosimo’s father, mercenary soldier Giovanni delle Bande Nere, who was compared to the god Mars. As Mars was the mythical father of Romulus, founder of Rome, Cosimo I was hence touted as the founder of an expanding empire.
On the other hand, Cosimo masterfully combined these joyful decorations with a powerful message of military might. Although he did not want to make the impression of being a heavy-handed tyrant like his cousin Alessandro, neither was he afraid to use the military component to inaugurate the new dynasty. The liminal moment of Eleonora’s entrance into her newly subjected territory was marked by “a great din of artillery salutes and bells,” as it already had been at her stop in Pistoia on the way to Florence. [25] In

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Florence, the military led the whole procession, beginning with “the four trumpet blowers of his Excellence, dressed in rich livery, followed by the lieutenant Ridolfo Baglioni with his light cavalry.” [26] The grand duchess was positioned in the middle of the procession with her ladies, followed by gentlemen from the house of Medici and other nobles and prelates. The light cavalry, while not wearing the full head-to-toe armor customary to the heavy cavalry, still presented a menacing presence. As warfare by the 1520s became more focused on sieges and skirmishes, the heavy cavalry’s full suit of armor was replaced with lighter gear that was better suited to newer military enterprises and for working side-by-side with foot soldiers. These mounted soldiers wore partial armor and usually carried a lance and a mace or sword. [27] Specially-made chiseled and etched armor produced specifically for pageantry was also in vogue in the 1530s, and may have featured Milanese damascening, a process of inlaying silver and gold wire into a steel base. [28] These men represented the state-of-the-art advancements in warfare and would have awed the populace as they powerfully paved the way for the new duchess.
This new use of gunfire was also a primary part of Cosimo’s message of dominance. As Thomas Arnold noted, many people feared gunpowder, equating it with the plague and perceiving it as a foul-smelling, smoky, menacing and sinister tool of the devil. [29] But despite its damning qualities, or maybe because of them, people became ever more excited about its potential. Renaissance princes and emperors such as Charles V and Maximilian celebrated their guns and inaugurated the place of gunfire in the world of political pageantry. [30]

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The descriptions of Eleonora’s entrance give insight only to the ephemeral decorations at the beginning and endpoint of her route, and nowhere do they speak of a celebration of her own family, although Roy Strong, in his Art and Power alludes to “some imperial homage.” [31] Cosimo was careful to honor the sovereign and emperor who supported his ascension, but did not seem to significantly feature the Toledo crest in the strategic points of the festivities. Surely the reason for this omission was the potentially threatening atmosphere that might have been created by mapping foreign symbols of power onto the urban landscape in this tenuous moment of nascent Medici power. Eleonora was the first non-Italian bride to marry into the Medici family (Lorenzo il Magnifico’s wife, Clarice Orsini, a Roman, was the first non-Florentine bride). The definitional ceremony that sanctified their wedding needed to produce a social structure that unequivocally located Cosimo at the helm. While it was theoretically Eleonora’s triumphal entrance, in reality the festivity was an opportunity for Cosimo to create a dynastic ritual that confirmed his siege-like grip on the reins of the city. Twenty two years later, in 1560, Eleonora’s family crest would finally receive its due honor when Cosimo made his triumphal entrance into the newly defeated Siena. The Toledo arms crowned an ephemeral arch erected at the city gate along with a statue of Faith, the coat of arms of Cosimo I, and the grand ducal crest. [32] By then Eleonora had certainly proven herself through her strength and wisdom, and as a nurturing mother to numerous heirs, and Cosimo’s uncontested rule could finally allow for the celebration of her part in the building of a solid political structure.

Entry of Eleonora da Toledo, 1539

If the route did not pay homage to the castrum perimeter, it did follow a path that paid homage to two religious centers : the Duomo (Fig. 4, itinerary 6), where the procession

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paused for the wedding ceremony of Cosimo I and Eleonora, and the Florentine-founded monastic order of the Servites of Mary at SS. Annunziata (Fig.4, itinerary 7). Eleonora’s homage might have been a fulfillment of a Florentine tradition of paying respect to a “miraculous” image of the Annunciation, believed to bestow fertility on brides and thus of primary importance to the future mother of the dynasty. It might also have been an attempt to mutually elevate the genealogy of both the Medici and the Servites, both having originated in the Mugello, an area north of the city. The route then passed by San Marco (Fig. 4, itinerary 8), a Dominican monastery completely rebuilt under the patronage of Cosimo the Elder de’Medici almost exactly one hundred years earlier, and culminated in the Medici Palace where Cosimo I was celebrated as a new Augustus, bringer of a long period of peace. [33] Curiously, Eleonora’s path avoided the Palazzo Vecchio, the most important civic building, as well as the Palazzo del Podestà, a secondary political stronghold. Hers was the only dynastic marriage entrance that did not pay homage to the seat of government. It can be argued that Cosimo was trying to draw a subtle parallel between himself and the emperor, Charles V, who governed a vast European territory without ever establishing a capital city. The center of power rested with him and thus the capital traveled wherever he went. Likewise, Cosimo was attempting to establish the geopolitical center of Florence in his own person and thus would have consciously avoided the antiquated medieval symbol of republican power. [34]
Cosimo’s intense self-comparison to Charles, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain and Flanders, is confirmed by the detailed information supplied by his ambassadors as to the preparations made for Charles’s entry in Paris. Ambassador Agnolo Niccolini

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recounted the grand entertainments organized by King Francois I to Cosimo in a letter dated December 23, 1539, assuring him that the arches have none of the “beauty or grace” of those of Eleonora’s entry, lacking in sophistication of design and inventione. [35] Cosimo was probably greatly pleased by this diplomatic report, as it validated the magnificence of his own display and allowed for a favorable comparison to the single most powerful man in Europe.
One of Cosimo’s calculated maneuvers to insure his successful consolidation of power was to qualify the audience of the marriage festivities. To guarantee the orderliness of the event, large numbers of feared subversives were secretly rounded up and put in jail. Cosimo insured that only his approving subjects who would submissively act as supportive spectators were allowed to attend the event. [36] Another successful strategy employed by the duke was to avoid any overlap with other festivities on the Florentine calendar. In a letter dating May 26, 1539, Cosimo instructed his ambassador in Naples to pressure the viceroy to allow Eleonora to leave as soon as possible so that her arrival would not interfere with the city’s celebrations of its patron saint, John the Baptist. [37] In short, the festivities honoring Eleonora’s entrance and marriage to Cosimo can be seen as the pivotal moment that confirmed the Medici stronghold on the city, validated by all members of the populace by their participation.

Giovanna D’Austria, 1565

Francesco I’s 1565 marriage to Giovanna d’Austria, a Hapsburg and sister to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II, was the highest-level diplomatic achievement in the history of the once-bourgeois Medici bankers. Ecstatic over the royal future of the Medici

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bloodline, Cosimo I was eager to strengthen his government’s power by association with the new in-laws. The itinerary of the sunny, December 16th entry (Fig. 5) repeated Eleonora’s 1538 itinerary through to the cathedral but then changed course to proceed on to the Medici’s new Grand Ducal home inside the Palazzo Vecchio, with its courtyard and salone splendidly redone with permanent decorations.
Along with the decorative themes of glorified virtues and the benign presence of church leaders from all of the subjected cities of Tuscany, [38] the entry of Giovanna was laced with aggressive, war-like undertones of governmental power. At the Porta al Prato Giovanna was met by 500 cavalrymen, 4,000 infantrymen, and an array of gunfire salutes from these soldiers and from the fortress. [39] The military presence at her entry had been greatly expanded in comparison to Cosimo’s entry into Siena only five years earlier when the courtly entourage boasted 1,000 horses, 200 infantrymen and “a great noise of artillery shot off from the fortress.” [40] Both the local populace as well as the imperial court would have been keenly aware of its capacity for destruction. The German diarist who wrote about the entry noted that “this was Cosimo’s standing army, and it was well-known that if necessary the duke could call upon 25,000 soldiers within eight days. [41] As never before, the welcoming of a new sovereign was used as a pretext for displaying the potential to attack and defend both beyond the boarders and within the territory of Tuscany.
But Cosimo did not stop at mere display. Thanks to a suggestion by a Medici diplomat, Bernardo Grazzini, who thought it would “not be pleasing” to amass a squadron and then just “leave them immobile,” the soldiers were set up in a mock battle outside the Porta al

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Prato. [42] He proposed to have “seven or eight thousand specially chosen foot soldiers along with light cavalry and 200 mounted shooters,” arranged in two opposing squadrons. They would rush into battle towards each other, arriving directly to the main road leading into the gate, with their pikes lowered until the grand duke appeared, when the battle would be halted, the picks raised, and the military flags lowered in reverence to the sovereign. Grazzini also suggested the shooters could fire a salute that would have an immediate response from the fortress. [43] Although we do not know how closely the battle was executed according to Grazzini’s specifications, Mellini does mention the mock battle and notes that the gunfire, trumpet blasts, drum rolls, shouts of the populace, and cannonades from the Fortezza da Basso and San Miniato, made it seem “as if the base and foundation of the universe were shaken and the ears of all were deafened.” [44] Grazzini made the claim that the German entourage of Giovanna was made up “primarily of soldiers” [45] and thus a mock battle would suit them perfectly. Possibly it was meant to recall the mock siege staged in 1530 outside of Munich to honor Charles V, in which a small army fought with mortars and cannon blasting away at a miniature fortress. [46] In any case, the display of astounding military might would certainly impress both the foreign guests as well as the local populace who would be present in droves for the event.
Giovanna’s sumptuously decorated pathway was masterminded by the prior of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Vincenzo Borghini, and carried out by Giorgio Vasari, who played captain to a team of talented artists.

Entry of Giovanna d'Austria, 1565

Borghini meticulously researched past triumphal entrances from 1515 to 1560 [47] and produced a decorative scheme that completely transformed twelve urban spaces with large-scale galleries, facades, and

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theatrical scenery. The first monumental construction was created at the Porta al Prato that rose much higher than the city walls and was visible from several miles away. [48] It consisted of two wings, each one extending outward 35 braccia (braccia = approx 2 feet) from the main arch and a gallery passageway entered from the arch itself (Fig. 6). On the left side of the outer wings were large paintings of the Roman founders of the city and of men of arms who fought bravely for Florence. On the other side, paintings of literary men also faced out to greet Giovanna’s entourage. Above and below these paintings the structure was decorated with a densely-packed array of faux marble statues, inscriptions and medallions. [49]
We know from Borghini’s notes that streets traversed in the procession, such as the Borgo Ognissanti, were chosen and decorated according to how well they reflected the militaristic ideal of superior length, width and straightness. [50] In stark contrast to the absent Toledo coats of arms in Eleonora’s entry, this time the glories of the Medici family were carefully interwoven with those of the imperial House of Austria, most notably in the colossal twenty foot-high statues of Armed Austria and Tuscany at the beginning of Borgo Ognissanti (Fig.7). Each feminine allegorical figure was accompanied by a putto, the one for Austria holding a crown and the one for Tuscany holding the three-tiered papal miter, [51] while the houses beyond the statues were covered by paintings of the cities dominated by each ruling house. [52] Borghini’s sketch offers a rough idea of two alternative architectural niche styles, one complete with a colossal figure reaching beyond the borders of the frame. Borghini must have had Michelangelo’s

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statue of David in mind as the figure reflects David’s classical contrapposto stance and raised left arm.
The third major point of interest on the route was the ornament on the façade of Palazzo dei Ricasoli at the bridge of the Carrraia (Fig. 5, itinerary 3), dedicated to love and marital fidelity, featuring paintings by the elderly Bronzino and Alessandro Allori. [53] Next, at the bridge of Santa Trinita, destroyed in the flood of 1557, a three-part structure was built to hide the unsightly view of the ruin. The central niche featured a fountain pouring real wine, remembered by the German diarist as the most noteworthy of the ephemeral decorations. [54] The courtly procession then turned left to follow the path of the Roman castrum, beginning with the monumental column given to Cosimo by Pope Pius IV (Fig. 5, itinerary 5), surmounted by a temporary statue of Justice in terracotta, and proceeding on towards the Arch of the House of Austria (Fig. 5, itinerary 6) celebrating the illustrious members of the imperial court. At the end of this long and straight street loomed the Arch of the Carnesecchi, a curving structure that rounded the corner leading towards the Duomo and celebrated the most important members of the house of Medici. [55]
At the Canto alla Paglia (Fig. 5, itinerary 8), a complex square structure resembling the temple of Janus in the Roman forum [56] (Fig. 8), called the Arch of Religion, acted as a gateway to the religious center of the city. Possibly inspired by the richly sculptural architecture of Michelangelo’s New Sacristy and façade design for San Lorenzo, the arch had a densely packed decorative program that developed over three levels. A ten foot-high seated statue of Religion presided at the apex, flanked by Armed Religion on the right, dressed in the armor of the knights of St. Stephen, and Ceremonial Religion on the

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left. In the central level, a painting of the Catholic Religion was accompanied by ovals of Natural Religion and Jewish Religion. Below, on the left, a statue of Cosimo I dressed in his role as founder of the knightly order of St. Stephen and, on the right, Giovanni Gualberto, the Florentine founder of the Vallombrosan order.
The allusion to the Roman forum’s temple of Janus whose doors were open in times of war and closed in times of peace, might find its raison d’etre in its proximity to the baptistery, the mythical origins of which were that of a Roman temple dedicated to Mars. It might also have signified the Catholic resolve to fight Protestantism in the wake of the recently adjourned Council of Trent. The Houses of Austria and Tuscany were thus symbolically joined in the new ideals of the Counter Reformation and, for the local people, an area of the city once dominated by religious meaning was now under a militaristic siege of warlike imagery.
After the temporary façade of the Duomo (Fig. 5, itinerary 9), dedicated to stories of the Virgin Mary, the procession turned right at the back of the cathedral down the Via del Proconsolo to the next set of decorations located in front of the Palazzo del Podestà (Fig. 5, itinerary 10). A colossal equestrian group in plaster by Vincenzo Danti portrayed an allegorical figure of Good Government mounted on a rearing horse and trampling the Vices, enemies of the public peace. [57] The trampled vices gave way further down the road to the Fountain of Ilarità (gaiety) at the entrance of Borgo dei Greci (Fig. 5, itinerary 11) and finally to the Arch of Civil Prudence at the entrance to Via dei Gondi (Fig. 5, itinerary 12), the culminating ephemeral monument of the royal entry. Borghini’s sketch, from his preparatory notebook known as the Libretto [58] (Fig. 1, cover image), shows a

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monumental arch featuring statues of “Reward” and “Punishment” surmounted by “Vigilance” and “Knowledge” (Sapientia). [59] At the summit, an impressive horse-drawn chariot guided by two angels holding an oak wreath was capable of changing directions as the procession passed through and entered into the Piazza della Signoria. [60] The piazza, ornamented with flags and tapestries hanging from the windows, also featured Neptune moved from the Loggia dei Lanzi to his permanent location on the fountain. [61] Here, Giovanna entered the Palazzo Vecchio to find two monumental spaces redecorated in her honor, the courtyard and the upstairs grand salone. In the courtyard, all traces of the medieval architecture were eliminated by recovering the columns with fluting on the bottom an stucco leaves, mask and allegorical figures on the top. Scenes of Austrian cities were painted on the walls, and medallions designed by Borghini celebrating the life and munificence of Cosimo adorned the vaults. These medallions reproduced later in bronze, compared Cosimo to the Roman emperor Augustus. [62] The grand salone, featured a vast painting cycle that acted as a permanent summary of the triumphal procession decorations. In the performance of the ritual procession, Giovanna’s passage underneath the arch would have been viewed as the moment of acquisition of these virtues, with the populace serving as testimony.
For the first time, a Medici marriage aimed specifically to overlay the myths, deeds and triumphs of another ruling family upon Florentine urban topography. As a grandee’s daughter, Eleonora’s lineage received only a marginal homage in her entrée, but Giovanna’s imperial family tree was thoroughly researched and many members were paid specific tribute. The Tuscan grand dukes, more secure in their uncontested position

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of power, saw the Hapsburg marriage as a moment of sealing their hegemony of the duchy of Tuscany. The unprecedented high-rank of the bride also provided the Medici ruler with a pretext for an unprecedented military display, sending the message home and abroad of the sophisticated sovereign’s readiness and capacity for war.

Cristina di Lorena, 1589

Cristina’s marriage to Ferdinand I was contracted just after the duke Francesco I and duchess Bianca Cappello died under mysterious circumstances and without an heir to the throne. Ferdinand, a cardinal at the time, renounced his ecclesiastic position to become the next grand duke. In turn, eager to align Tuscany with France and create distance from Spanish control, he negotiated with Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France, before her death in January of 1589 for the hand of her granddaughter, Cristina di Lorena. As a result, Cristina’s Francophone lineage was prominently celebrated in her entrée, which was part of a long series of grandiose celebrations including the Naumachia staged in the Pitti Palace. The route (Fig. 9) Cristina took was almost identical to that of Giovanna, except for the entrance into the Piazza della Signoria from the north side of the square, possibly to emphasize the axis of power created by an alignment of monumental statues and buildings.

Entry of Cristina di Lorena, 1589

The director for the Cristina’s decorations, Niccolo Gaddi, repeated many of the themes introduced twenty-four years earlier by Borghini, but also added new arches to narrate the illustrious past marriages of the House of Medici along with those of the French crown. One such arch was installed at the ponte alla Carraia, where Catherine de’ Medici was shown enthroned and surrounded by the principal personages of her time. [63] Another

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important homage to the French was placed at the Canto dei Carnesecchi, a double-arched structure celebrating members and deeds of the houses of Guise and Lorraine, Cristina’s actual family lineage.
An engraving by Orazio Scarabelli shows the fifth structure (Fig. 10), an imposing framework on two sides of the street presenting two statues in niches, opening the way for a structure built down both sides of the initial tract of the Via del Proconsolo and bridging the Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio.

Orazio Scarabelli, 1589, Arch at Canto di Bischeri, Engraving for the festival entrance of Cristina di Lorena, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Wikimedia Commons

Though lacking any detailed textual description of the iconography of Cristina’s ephemeral decorations, the engraving does offer much information. Military-garbed statues seem to correspond to the painted scenes along the street behind them in which sixteenth-century battle scenes with soldiers in tight, square formations can be vaguely discerned. The broken-arched pediments and the densely articulated architecture again recall the Michelangelesque forms of Giovanna’s entry. In the distance on the left is the civic tower of the Palazzo del Podestà and, on the right, the pointed tower of the oldest monastery in the city, the Badia Fiorentina. Another engraving by the same artist shows the arch leading into the Piazza della Signoria, showing a rectangular structure displaying six statues of illustrious members of the house of Medici (Fig. 11), two painted canvases and three large Medici coats of arms.

Orazio Scarabelli, 1589, Arch at Canto degli Antellesi, Engraving for the festival entrance of Cristina di Lorena, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Wikimedia Commons

If we compare these two engravings to the descriptions and drawings from Giovanna’s entrance, the architecture and decoration appear substantially simplified from the previous decorative scheme. Giovanna’s iconographic program usually spanned three main levels, while Cristina’s has been reduced to two decorative registers. Possibly each level was twice the height of those built for Giovanna, as Scarabelli makes the structure

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seem to correspond to the height of the four-story buildings beyond it in both the Via del Proconsolo corners and the arch leading into the Piazza della Signoria. If this were only a theatrical invention created for effect in the engraving, however, the reduction in scale of Giovanna’s program might have been caused by many reasons, such as a change in taste due to the entry’s organizer, a lack of available artists, or Ferdinand’s desire to use his financial resources elsewhere in the festivities.
The procession culminated at the entrance to Palazzo Vecchio where a large canvas showed the allegorical figure of Tuscany, robbed of her crown by the ancient Etruscan king Porsenna on one side and restored by Cosimo I on her other side, symbolizing the restitution of pious Christian rule after pagan idolatry. [64] However, this imagery certainly may have been interpreted in various ways by the Florentine populace, who may have seen the vision in a grossly different light : the once-independent republic, invaded and conquered by a banking family, was now forced to witness the rewriting of the city’s creation myths to culminate in the apotheosis of the Medici sovereign.

Maria Maddalena d’Austria, 1608

The path chosen for Maria Maddalena d’Austria in 1608 forged a new itinerary of Medici conquest (Fig. 12), one that paid tribute to the latest Medici Chapel, the grand ducal burial mausoleum behind San Lorenzo, and culminated in the recently adopted court residence at the Pitti Palace, which had been acquired in 1549 by Eleonora of Toledo. For the first time since Leo X, the procession metaphorically conquered both sides of the river. The decorations in Maria’s honor, however, were reduced in quantity compared to those of her predecessors. According to Anna Maria Testaverde, only the Porta al Prato

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and the façade of the Duomo received any kind of ornament. [65] This meager tally is in stark contrast to an engraving of the event by M. Greuter that confirms the itinerary, but portrayed more arches, including one dedicated to Bavarian rulers (Fig. 13).

Mathieu Greuter, Entrance of Maria Maddalena d’Austria, engraving, 1608, Getty Research Institute

Six major arches are shown at Porta al Prato, Borgo Ognissanti, San Lorenzo, Canto alla Paglia, Via Maggio and Palazzo Pitti, plus the recently finished bronze equestrian monument to Ferdinand I in the Piazza SS. Annunziata. Curiously, Greuter did not portray the statues of the four seasons installed at the bridges four corners sometime around 1608 and neither are they mentioned by Testaverde. [66]

Entry of Maria Maddalena d'Austria, 1608

It is possible these “extra” triumphal arches were never realized, as sometimes the printing of the engraving occurred before the actual event, or simply because of its intentionally fictitious nature. [67] Possibly Greuter’s print was intended for a foreign audience who would have delighted in an exaggerated account of homage to the house of Austria. If indeed the real decorations were scarce, it is more likely due to a lack of funds rather than to artistic exhaustion of new themes as the last entrance of a grand duchess was already twenty years past and no longer a vivid memory in the minds of the local citizens. As I will discuss further on, more money and artistic energy was devoted to creating a novel theatrical invention on the Arno river. Moreover, the grand dukes no longer needed to justify their rule nor did they feel compelled to campaign for popular consensus.
The change in itinerary from the previous entrances shows a new emphasis on religious organizations such as Santa Maria Novella (fig. 12, itinerary 4), the open piazza of which also used for chariot races. The stop at San Lorenzo (Fig. 12, itinerary 5) validated the new mausoleum under construction for the Medici grand dukes as a focal point for the

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city. Further to the south, Via Maggio (Fig. 12, itinerary 10) was the widest and straightest street beyond the Arno, and it was lined with beautiful façades of stately patrician houses. The route would have been even more novel if the proposed suggestion (not realized due to its exorbitant cost) made by Giovanni dei Bardi to construct a new entrance point of the city at the Porta di San Gallo had been executed. (Fig. 14 and 15, detail). [68] This complicated venture would have entailed the partial destruction of the bastion and the demolition of several homes and gardens to create a triumphal route of nearly perfect north-south orientation. This new alignment would have followed and validated an already existing north-south conceptual axis of Medici power linking the buildings of the Casino de Medici at San Marco to the Medici Palace and to the Pitti Palace at the southernmost tip of the city. The Medicis now seemed to have a structural presence in every major area of the city ; their metaphoric conquest of the urban landscape was now complete.

Permanent Markers

When the partying was over and the decorations that had taken months to design and build were finally taken down, what kind of psychological imprint remained ? Certainly the people would long remember the larger-than-life structures and the messages of military might, divinely ordained rule, and magnificence. Yet, the Medici rulers also desired to permanently historicize their capital city with markers that would preserve their glories for future generations. Many of the ephemeral decorations created for these solidifying moments of Medici power served as models for permanent works of art both inside the private grand ducal apartments and outside in public places. Along the

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triumphal entry routes, still visible today, are two columns : in piazza Santa Trinita, a large granite column crowned by a statue of Justice was set in place in 1570,

Giuseppe Zocchi, View of Piazza Santa Trinita,, Florence, engraving, Alinari Archives

while for piazza San Felice, Cosimo I planned to place a column supporting a statue of Peace (only the column was completed in 1572).

Photo of piazza San Felice, Florence, Wikipedia

Piazza San Felice was the location where Cosimo first heard the news of victory in the battle of Scannagallo in 1554. The taking of this stronghold in the Sienese contado led to the subjugation of Siena the following year. [69] These permanent markers of victories left an indelible impression on the city, eternally locating two points of a vertical triumphal route through the urban space that might have culminated in the entrance of Maria Maddalena d’Austria some thirty five years later.
The bridge of Santa Trinita, rebuilt by Cosimo, also served as strong metaphor of grand ducal presence and provided the stage for the statues of the four seasons, erected for the wedding of Cosimo II sometime around 1608. There were also two bronze equestrian statues, one to Cosimo I erected in piazza della Signoria circa 1590 and another in honor of Ferdinand I for piazza SS. Annunziata, completed by Giambologna in 1608. Inside Palazzo Vecchio, in the room of Pope Leo X, are paintings that remember his triumphal entrance, and the Salone de Cinquecento ceiling paintings were directly inspired by the wedding decorations of Cosimo I and Eleonora. [70] In addition to these works of art, party books, diaries, letter and engravings also served to extend the audience of these events. As a whole, these monuments, artworks, and instances of print culture provided a constant narrative that spoke autonomously, eliminating the need for ritual enactment.

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The Creation of two Medici axes of power
The most important, natural axis of the city was created by the Arno river. The Florentine built environment traditionally developed along the west-to-east water flow, anchored by the two monumental monasteries of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella. The Medici, however, consistently developed two alternate North-South axes in the sixteenth century. One of these began at the point where Cristina di Lorena entered into the Piazza della Signoria and where Stradano positioned his painting of Pope Leo X’s arrival at Palazzo Vecchio (Fig. 2). In fact, Cosimo I, in his equestrian statue, turns his head slightly in the direction of the river, as if to acknowledge the presence of the Neptune fountain, the statues of David and Hercules defeating Cacus, and the receding rhythmic architecture of the Uffizi, built in the 1560s. The completion of this new permanent, axis of Medici power would actualize with the building of Fort Belvedere in 1590, which is clearly visible above the Uffizi from Cosimo’s vantage point in the Piazza della Signoria.
The other Medici axis, a more conceptual one that does not follow exact points on a single straight street, extends even farther through the city, beginning south of the river at the Palazzo Pitti and moving north to the Medici Palace and finally to the Casino de’ Medici, located near San Marco and known as a popular place for Medici theatrical entertainments after 1600. [71] This axis would have been extended even farther in 1608 if the proposed entree of Maria Maddalena d’Austria had opened up the road through the San Gallo bastion.
Perhaps the Medici’s political ambitions helped them to conceptualize this axis as extending outside the city gates as well. It would be of interest to see if there is any

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documentation to support the idea of a Medici consciousness of promoting such an alignment. To the north lies the mountainous region of the Mugello, ancestral home to the Medici and, even farther to north, where two Medici women became queens of France. The axis might also extend southbound where two Medici men similarly ascended the papal throne. As for an east/west axis, there does not appear to be one within the city, but Florence as a whole is tightly linked westward to Pisa and Livorno, the Medici-created port city. These two cities were often the arrival point for important visitors, and Medici family members traveling back and forth stayed at the many villas lining the route to the sea.

Urban Festivities

Now that we have looked at the triumphal entrance, a motion-based theatrical event that historicized and surrendered urban space to the new sovereign, let us turn to look at another “festive conquest” : the stationary urban festivity. These localized events also occupied large open areas of the city and transformed them into outdoor theatres. For the purposes of this paper, we will look at only a few events that were performed for the grand dukes and that had militaristic messages encoded into their entertainment. The first “ludic siege” in the period to be considered here took place on Feb 17, 1566, during the two months of festivities celebrating the wedding of Francesco I and Giovanna d’Austria. A faux fortress was constructed in Santa Maria Novella square for the delight of spectators who watched as it was assaulted by knights. Giovan Battista Cini described the fortress in his 1566 party book (unfortunately without an illustration), touting its state-of-the-art features such as bastions, curtain walls, ditches and counter ditches, secret and

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visible doors. [72] The real citadel of San Giovanni had been built thirty years earlier, and although it had not been used against the populace, it continued to emanate a menacing image. The festive assault on the decorative fortress might have been a way for Florentines to release their fears of a real attack, but since their direct participation in the event was excluded, they were reduced to experiencing it vicariously through the actors/knights. Certainly the idea of destroying the monstrous fortezza da basso, as large as the Roman perimeter of Florentia, might have been regarded as a joyous occasion to many people. Still, the populace’s lack of participation reinforced their marginalized role in the current affairs.
On the other side of town, piazza Santa Croce was also utilized as a major stage for theatre and displays of Medici power. On February 12 and October 6, 1616, two extravagant productions were staged in the square, the last carnival celebration known as “La Guerra d’Amore” (The War of Love) and the “La Guerra di bellezza” (War of Beauty), ostensibly in honor of ten year-old Federigo della Rovere who was visiting Florence as fiancée to Claudia de’ Medici, daughter of Cosimo II. Both events paralyzed the normal activities of the city and appropriated every inch of space in the neighborhood.
Jacques Callot’s print of The War of Love (Fig. 16) shows a view from a building on the south side piazza Santa Croce, possibly the Palazzo degli Antellesi.

Jacques Callot, War of Love, engraving, 1616, University of Pittsburgh

It drastically compresses the buildings in the square, allowing the viewer to scan from the arena up to the rooftops in a single glance. The oval-shaped arena was encircled by audience-packed wooden grand stands. In the center, two opposing squadrons watch while a third group in

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the center is engaged in active, messy combat with weapon-brandishing arms rising up periodically above the fray. Callot’s composition is a perfect balance between order and chaos. He frames the central group of brawling fighters with the two squadrons of formally positioned soldiers and a ring of equally spaced mounted horsemen. The spectacle is, in turn, framed by a dual audience, one part composed of orderly figures within the confines of the viewing stands and another comprised of disorderly figures in the foreground and casually strewn along the rooftops in the background. Callot might have included this vast array of characters to suggest a microcosm for the successful government of a city, one that keeps in check its chaotic and unruly populace.
In Callot’s War of Beauty (Fig. 17), the scene is viewed at from the other side of the square, offering a view of the long, impressive façade of Palazzo degli Antellesi, the upper floors of which jut out over the square on sportelli.

Jacques Callot, War of Beauty, engraving in the libretto by Andrea Salvadori, 1616, Wikipedia

This more stately architectural view is mirrored by the more elegantly constructed grandstands and the more sophisticated choreography of the performers. Horsemen and foot soldiers are engaged in movement through elegant formations as they make their way to leave the arena, opening the way for two colossal floats and their accompanying retinue.
At this point it would be useful to clarify why Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce were used as main sites instead of a possibly more obvious location, such as the grand square in front of Palazzo Vecchio. In the century preceding the Medici totalitarian rule, jousts and tournaments were held in a variety of locations, including the piazza before the Palazzo Vecchio. Interestingly, in the sixteenth century the Medici chose not to hold their

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outdoor festivals in front of government headquarters, relinquishing the opportunity to use the massive town hall as an imposing backdrop for state events.
One may propose two possible reasons for the use of the outlying squares and ultimately the preference for Santa Croce as a venue for outdoor festivals. First of all, precisely because they were outside the political center, they removed any potential chaos from the political organs of society. This separation of politics from entertainment for reasons of safety and order was a conspicuous feature of the Colosseum in ancient Rome, and was also a common element of urban design in other Roman towns such as Verona, Lucca and even Florence. In fact, the preference for planning these two tournaments in Santa Croce may have been a Medici allusion to the grandiose festivities held in the ancient Roman amphitheatre. Santa Croce was not only a large, spacious square, but it was also adjacent to the remains of the first-century amphitheatre. In addition to its proximity, the stands for La Guerra d’Amore were constructed in an oval shape and not in the more logical rectangular shape that delineates Santa Croce square. We learn in the party book written by Andrea Salvadori that the “superb theatre” featured rusticated Tuscan stone blocks at the two entrances and pilasters that ran around the whole structure.” [73] Certainly many spectators might have made the connection to the ancient amphitheater whose large rusticated blocks were still visible. The clearest reference to the Roman amphitheater allusion can be found in an earlier party book written in 1589 by Bastiano de’Rossi for the theatrical performance of La Pellegrina, performed in the Uffizi theatre. Salvadori, addressing the duke Alfonso II (who was absent from the festivities but to whom the book is dedicated), begins by “lauding the virtue of magnificence of the ancients [...]

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for their dedicated building of temples, theatres and amphitheatres throughout the world, […] generously spending large sums for the enjoyment of the populace.” [74] De’ Rossi parallels the Uffizi theatre to the Colosseum in its interior architecture and thus the magnificence of the Medici family is equated to that of the Roman emperors. It would seem that these outdoor festivals in Santa Croce were meant to establish precisely this same metaphor of imperial power and glory.
A second probable reason for the use of Santa Croce for public festivals was to convey the subtle message of grand ducal volition to appropriate urban space from its populace. In the Florentine triumphal entrees, the processions never passed by Santa Croce. This area, inhabited by the poorest woolworkers and the community of humble Franciscans friars, was excluded in dignified, courtly itineraries. Still, this outlying and potentially “unconquered” neighborhood could have induced the Medici to send a clear message of their powerful presence. Below the surface pomp and excitement of the festivities, an alternate narrative speaks about this occasion as an intentional encroachment on the rougher and more humble eastern side of the city.
Again, Andrea Salvadori’s party book for the Battle of Love provides useful insight as to how this message was encoded. He begins by lauding “the noble tradition of entertaining the multitudes in the laziness of peacetime.” [75] Yet the reader might easily see beyond this propagandistic, sycophantic accolade and suspect an ulterior motive. Salvadori insists that the populace should lavish praise on these events because “they seem like real war, giving great joy to the soul.” [76] He then describes the event in detail. The battle was preceded by a theatrical performance of enormous floats of exotic themes. An Indian

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queen sat atop a giant float on a golden leaf with sixty-four attendants below her playing sweet music and singing. Guardians of the queen followed on foot. Then purple, gold and white clouds carried forth Alba, or Dawn, flapping her wings full of flowers. Alba passed the grand duke and proceeded to the grand duchess where she stopped to sing verses to her announcing an upcoming battle. Then the battle began with forty-two cavalrymen moving “in beautiful order” in and out of formations and fighting with clubs. The fighting was “bellissimo” and the captains were all chosen as the most excellent at managing arms. [77] After the cavalrymen finished, the captains fought each other with swords, seemingly injuring and drawing blood. “The populace watched with delight” and such was the “noise and intensity of the blows and bloodshed that it seemed like a real battle.” [78] An alternative message from the Florentine ruling sponsors of the event to the public might also be clearly received : these military men are extremely well-trained, capable and dangerous ; this time they come on this occasion to the doorsteps of this neighborhood in peace and merriment, but they could easily return in combat.
If the city could by conquered by land, it might also be invaded by sea. The Medici demonstrated their ability to appropriate fluvial space as they did urban streets and squares. The Arno River was traditionally a focal point for trade, as boats and barges carried goods west to Pisa and then down the coast to Livorno. The wool industry in Florence used the river for washing and dyeing fabric, and the mills along the river’s edge harnessed its power for milling grains. Two events celebrating the wedding of Cosimo II and Maria Maddalena d’Austria, however, commandeered this vital city organ in a theatrical show of military strength. The first was the Gioco del Ponte, performed on

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October 28, 1608, and described by Camillio Rinuccini in his book commemorating the grand ducal wedding (Fig. 18). A traditional event in Pisa, the Gioco involved a 600-person military parade. The two warring factions consisted of ten squads of thirty soldiers each. Each squad dressed as soldiers from different parts of the world and carried all kinds of weapons, bizarre accessories and musical instruments. [79] The soldiers engaged in battle right in the middle of the bridge of Santa Trinita, which had just been decorated with statues of the Four Seasons. The engraving by Greuter shows the grand ducal party watching the event from a position at the top left side.

Mathieu Greuter, Gioco del Ponte, engraving, 1608, Getty Research Institute

In the middle of the river there is an island with an allegorical figure representing the river Arno, the Florentine lily and the Marzocco, or lion. It appears by the inscription, “Arno, fiume di firenze” that the engraving was intended for a foreign audience that might not know the Arno was the river in Florence. The impressive numbers of armed soldiers inside the city walls would be a powerful message, both at home and abroad, of the Medici’s power to subjugate its populace and gather military forces if the need were to arise.
Only a few days later, on November 3, 1608, the Arno was completely transformed to become an outdoor theatre for the spectacular performance of Jason and the Argonauts (Fig. 19).

Mathieu Greuter, Jason and the Argonauts, engraving, 1608, Getty Research Institute

Like the Gioco del ponte, here the orientation of the engraving is from the south side of the river. This event was easily the most important of the wedding festivities and employed massive numbers of craftsmen, costumers, technicians and artists. Giulio Parigi, Jacopo Ligozzi and Ludovico Cigoli were the designers for the theatrical performance, of which a series of nineteen etchings of the ships also survives. The bridge of Santa Trinita was transformed into the city of Colchis, complete with crenellated

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castles and towers. In front of the bridge, an island in the middle of the river provided the setting for a small temple that housed the Golden Fleece. The event took place at night and was lit by torches that burned at both sides of the river. The richly appointed captain’s ship of the Colchis armada appeared first from the Carraia side and took his sixteen galleys on a tour of the theatre, “to survey its territory.” [80] Then Jason’s magnificently carved and painted galley appeared from the Santa Trinita side, full of exquisite and exotic details, and led the twenty-six galleys of the Argonauts, each uniquely decorated, for an even more pompous tour of the river-theatre. The battle then began and Jason fought for the victorious prize of the Golden Fleece. If Rinuccini’s account of the event is to be believed, then it was “the most superb event of all.” [81] It might possibly have been such a grand affair that no later event on the Arno ever tried to surpass it. Certainly the river was still used for theatrical events, boat races, but never did another Medici try to outdo the festivities for Cosimo II.

The demise of the festive siege

The very success of the Medici entrées and public spectacles may be one of the principal causes of their demise. The grandiose theatrical events fulfilled their goals of permanently overlaying propagandistic myths onto the urban space and onto the psyche of the populace. As public spaces became loaded with symbols of power, the atmosphere of “siege” and “surrender” could be played out metaphorically without having to organize public events. The Medici sovereigns, relieved of the need to reinforce the message, could retire to more private settings for their spectacles. Already in 1589 for the marriage celebrations of Ferdinand I and Cristina di Lorena, the mock naval battle known as the

[p. 39]
was staged in the courtyard of the Pitti Palace and not in the more obvious location of the Arno. Despite the great expense to seal off the courtyard and fill it with water, the Medici organizers wanted this extraordinary event to be seen only by those invited to the wedding festivities.

Orazio Scarabelli, Naumachia, Engraving for the Marriage of Grand Duke Ferdinando I and Cristina di Lorena, 1589, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Wikimedia Commons

The amphitheatre in the Boboli gardens, inaugurated in 1637, [82] was the culmination of both the outdoor tournaments staged in Santa Croce as well as those performed inside the Uffizi theatre. Built into the hill behind the Pitti Palace, it combined the amphitheatre seating and the vast outdoor space of a city square. It accommodated operas, jousts, and ballets, removing the Medicis from the view of the populace. The inaugural festivities of 1637 celebrated the Wedding of the Gods, a weeklong series of events to honor the wedding of Ferdinand II to Beatrice Violante di Bavaria [83]. (Fig. 20). The Florentine populace, already excluded by the court theatre, was now cut out of the tournament and outdoor theatrical events. Their marginalization from courtly festivities was complete as even their validating presence as spectator was no longer required. The grand dukes continued to spend lavishly for the staging of these grand events, especially the carousels, but the audience was more select. The guest list included the local court, but was also extended ever farther and wider thanks to the distribution of festival books that documented the occasions with detailed description and illustrations. We might conclude that the populace of Florence, having been put under siege and surrendered, was no longer made a target. The Medici grand dukes may have looked to a new formula, that of the sumptuous, private affair that could be more controlled and orderly, and its subsequent reproduction and distribution in printed materials would communicate their power and magnificence to an international audience.

Appendix and Bibliography

The Medici Archive Project
Shelf 518, folio 504.
Sender : Grazzini, Bernardo
Recipient : Concini, Bartolomeo
Date : 1565, November 23.
[…]Vostra Signoria dica al Cavalliero Saracini poiché io non ho tempo di farlo che bisogna che facci provvisione a Bologna di cinque paia di [suggested reading : ceste] con muli che portino alcune donne che sin qui andranno in carretta, et che a Firenzuola oltra l’altre provisioni mandi quant’io deti che potranno poi servir anche a Scarperia ne servitii di quei signori Todeschi che vengano per compagnia, a quali si daranno da far’ più di tre tavole com’ ella vedrà per il [suggested reading : volo] Se il lion’ di piazza non s’è ridorato non si lasci, in questa così fatta allegreza così salvatico ma honorirsi di nuovi velli e corone. Oh bel pensiero ! Prima col Signor Paolo [Orsini] et poi col Signor Aurelio [Fregoso] havemo ragionato che uno de belli spettacoli che si potesse far’ a questi signori Alemanni che sono la maggior parte soldati, si era o sarebbe mostrar un 7 o 8 milia fanti cappati con la cavalleria leggiera et 200 archibusieri a cavallo collocandoli in dua squadroni oppositi fuori della porta al Prato, voltando il viso l’uno alla strada maestra e le spalle l’uno ad Arno l’altro a Fiesole, et mentre che [loss] travagliasse una scaramuccia rusticata et al comparir di Sua Altezza li squadroni movessero con le picche basse sino alla fossa della via, et veduta la presentia di Sua Altezza le picche ch’erano abbassate per combatter’, s’arboresse et arborata insieme le insegne s’abbattessero in segno di reverentia a Sua Altezza et passata si facessi la salva et subbito dal Castello fusse risposto. Questo è il parer mio perchè fare un squadron solo et lasciarlo immobile no ha garbo et il farlo assaltar da tanta poca cavalleria non farà quel veder’ ch’io ho detto a loro e scritto sopra […]


Primary Sources :

Archivio di Stato di Firenze [ASF], Mediceo Del Principato [MDP] 183, f˚ 289.
ASF, MDP 1176a, f˚ 146.
ASF, MDP 2, f˚ 188.
ASF, MDP 1169, f˚ 139.
ASF, MDP 1. Letter dated November 17, 1565.
ASF, MDP 518, f˚ 504, Letter dated November 23, 1565.
Cirni Corso, Anton Francesco. La Reale Entrata dell’Eccellentissimo Signor Duca et Duchessa di Fiorenza, in Siena, con la Significazione delle Latine Inscrittioni, e con Alcuni Sonetti. Roma : Antonio Blado Stampator Camerale, 1560.
Giambullari, Pierfrancesco. Apparato et feste nelle nozze dello illustrissimo signor Duca di Firenze e della Duchessa sua Consorte con le sue stanze. Firenze : Benedetto Giunta, 1539.
Mellini, Domenico. Descrizione dell’Entrata della Serenissima Reina Giovanna d’Austria et dell’ apparato, fatto in firenze nella venuta, e per le felicissime nozze di Sua Altezza et dell’Illustrissimo, e Eccelentiss. S. Don Francesco de Medici, Principe di Fiorenza e di Siena. Firenze : Giunti, 1566.
Rossi, Biastiano de’. Descrizione dell apparato e degl’ intermedi. Fatti per la commedia rappresentata in Firenze. Nelle nozze de’ serenissimi Don Ferdinando Medici, e Madama Cristina de Loreno, gran duchi di Toscana. Firenze : A. Padouani, 1589.
Salvadori, Andrea. Guerra d’Amore festa del serenissimo gran duca di Toscana Cosimo II, Fatta in Firenze il carnevale del 1615. Firenze : Zanobi Pignoni, 1615.
Secondary Sources :

Arfaioli, Maurizio. The Black Bands of Giovanni : Infantry and Diplomacy during the Italian Wars (1526-1528). Pisa : Pisa University Press, 2005.
Arnold, Thomas. Renaissance at War. London : Cassell & Co., 2001.
Belloni, Gino and Riccardo Drusi, ed. Vincenzo Borghini : Filologia e Invenzione nella Firenze di Cosimo I, Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 2002.
Bertelà, Giovanna ed. and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II. Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969. 15-127.
Conti, Piero Ginori. ed. L’Apparato per le Nozze di Francesco de’ Medici e di Giovanna d’Austria : nelle narrazioni del tempo e da lettere inedited di Vincenzo Borghini e di Giorgio Vasari. Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1936.
Johnson, Charles. Stefano della Bella 1610-1664 : Baroque Printmaker : the I. Webb Surratt, Jr. Print Collection. Richmond : University of Richmond Museums, 2001. Chapter 1.
Fabbri, Mario, ed. and Elvira Garbero Zorzi, Anna Maria Petrioli Tofani, Il Luogo Teatrale a Firenze : Brunelleschi, Vasari, Buontalenti. Milano : Electa, 1975. 20-35.
Fanelli, Giovanni. Le Città nella Storia d’Italia : Firenze. 1980.
Garbero Zorzi, Elvira and Mario Sperenzi. Teatro e Spettacolo nella Firenze dei Medici. Firenze : Olschki, 2001.
Ghisi, Federico. Feste Musicali della Firenze Medicea (1480-1589). Bologna : Forni Editori, 1939, Introduction.
Giusti, Maria Adriana. Edilizia in Toscana dal XV al XVII Secolo. Firenze : Edifir, 1990. (section on Tuscan fortresses)
Il Seicento Fiorentino : Biografie : Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III, Firenze : Cantini Editori, 1986.
Jacquot, Jean, Les Fêtes de la Renaissance, Paris : C.N.R.S, 1956, 9-30 (Joyeuse e triomphante entrée).
Katritzky, M.A. “The Florentine Entrata of Joanna of Austria and Other Entrate Described in a German Diary,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 59, (1996), 148-173.
La Fortuna di Cosimo I ; La Battaglia di Scannagallo. Catalog of exhibit organized by Foiano della Chiana, Palazzo Granducale Lucignano, Museo Comunale Marciano della Chiana, Palazzo Comunale, 1992.
Mamone, Sara. “Le Miroir des Spectacles : Jacques Callot à Florence 1612-1622” in Jacques Callot 1592-1635. ed. by Paulette Choné. Paris, 1992.
Najemy, John M. A History of Florence 1200-1575. Oxford : Blackwell Publishing, 2006, Chapter 14 and 15, 414-490.
Petrioli, Anna Maria ed. Mostra di Disegni Vasariani, Carri Trionfali e Costumi per la Geneologia degli Dei (1565). Firenze : Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1966, 5-20.
Pollak, Martha. Cities at War : Baroque Fortifications and Military Urbanism. unpublished.
Pollak, Martha. “Representations of the City in Siege Views of the Seventeenth Century : The war of military images and their production,” in City Walls : The Urban Enceinte in Global Perspective. ed. by James D. Tracy. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000, 605-646.
Rousseau, Claudia. “The Pageant of the Muses at the Medici Wedding of 1539 and the Decoration of the Salone dei Cinquecento” in Theatrical Spectacle and Spectacular Theatre : papers in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University. Vol. VI, part 2, Pennsylvania State University, 1990.
Schechner, Richard and Willa Appel ed. By Means of Performance : Intercultural Studies of Theatre and Ritual. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1990. Chapter 1, 1-18.
Scorza, R.A.. “Vincenzo Borghini and Invenzione : The Florentine Apparato of 1565” in
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. Vol. 44. (1981), 57-75.
Setton, Kenneth M.“Penrose Memorial Lecture. Pope Leo X and the Turkish Peril,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. 113, No. 6 (1969), pp. 367-424.
Shearman, John. “The Florentine Entrata of Leo X, 1515”, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. Vol. 38. (1975), 136-154.
Starn, Randolph and Loren Partridge. Arts of Power : Three Halls of State in Italy 1300-1600. Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press, 1992.
Strong, Roy C. Art and Power : Renaissance Festivals, 1450-1650. University of California Press : Berkeley, 1984. Chapters 1-3.
Tarassuk, Leonid. Italian Armor for Princely Courts : Renaissance Armor from the Trupin Family Trust and The George F. Harding Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago : The Art Institute of Chicago, 1986.
Testaverde, Anna Maria, “Feste Medicee : la visita, le nozze e il trionfo” in La Citta’ Effimera e l’universo artificiale del giardino : la Firenze dei Medici e l’Italia del ’500. ed. Marcello Fagiolo. Roma : Officina, 1980. 69-100.
Weber, Donald. “From Limen to Border : A meditation on the legacy of Victor Turner for American Cultural Studies” in American Quarterly. Vol. 47, no 3, 1995.
Wilson, Bronwen. The World in Venice : print, the city, and early modern identity. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2005. Chapter 1.

List of Illustrations

1. (Cover) Vincenzo Borghini, Arch of Civil Prudence. Sketch by Borghini for triumphal entry of Giovanna d’Austria, Libretto (Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale. US .Magi. 11, x : 100), fo.53v., cited in R.A. Scorza.
2. Giovanni Stradano, Triumphal entrance of Leo X in Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, 1555-1562.
3. Graphic reconstruction by Laura Kramer and Allan Berry, Pope Leo X Entry in 1515.
4. Graphic reconstruction by Laura Kramer and Allan Berry, Eleonora da Toledo Entry of 1539.
5. Graphic reconstruction by Laura Kramer and Allan Berry, Giovanna d’Austria Entry of 1565.
6. Design by Borghini for the plan of the Porta al Prato ephemeral structure, Giovanna d’Austria Entry of 1565. P.Ginori Conti, L’Apparato per Le Nozze di Francesco de’ medici e di Giovanna D’Austria, 1936, 13.
7. Design by Borghini for decoration at Borgo Ognissanti, Entrance of Giovanna d’Austria 1565. Piero Ginori Conti, 17.
8. Design by Borghini for the Arch of Religion, Entrance of Giovanna d’Austria 1565. Piero Ginori Conti, 39.
9. Graphic reconstruction by Laura Kramer and Allan Berry, Cristina di Lorena Entry of 1589.
10. Orazio Scarabelli, Arch at Canto dei Bischeri for Cristina di Lorena’s Entry, 1589. (unknown provenance)
11. Orazio Scarabelli, Arch for the Canto degli Antellesi for Cristina di Lorena’s Entry, 1589. (unknown provenance)
12. Graphic reconstruction by Laura Kramer and Allan Berry, Maria Maddalena d’Austria Entry of 1608.
13. Mattheus Greuter, Solenne ingresso a Firenze di Maria Maddalena d’Austria, Firenze, Biblioteca Riccardiana, Fondo Moreniano, Misc. 17.7, Cited in Giovanna Bertelà and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969), plate 22, n.51.
14. Matteo Florimi, Plan of Florence, ca. 1600, signed bottom right corner. Made in Siena. Newberry Library, Novacco 2f 117. Porta San Gallo is at the top-left corner of the map.
15. Detail, Matteo Florimi, Plan of Florence, ca. 1600.
16. Jacques Callot, “La Guerra d’Amore,” Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Gabinetto delle stampe, n. 10544, st. vol., Cited in Giovanna Bertelà and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969), Plate 46, n.93.
17. Jacques Callot, “Teatro Fatto a Firenze nella Festa a Cavallo” (also referred to as “La Guerra di bellezza,” Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Gabinetto delle stampe, n.10541 st. vol. Cited in Giovanna Bertelà and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969), Plate 47, n.97.
18. Mattheus Greuter,” Il Gioco del Ponte,” n.9529 st. sc. Cited in Giovanna Bertelà and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969), Plate 31, n.67.
19. Mattheus Greuter,” l’Argonautica,” Firenze, Biblioteca Riccardiana, Fondo Moreniano, n.208.7. Cited in Giovanna Bertelà and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969), Plate 32, n.68.
20. Stefano della Bella, “Carousel (horse ballet) presented in the Boboli garden amphitheatre for the marriage of Grand Duke Ferdinand II, 1637,” etching. Cited in Charles Johnson, Stefano della Bella 1610-1664 : Baroque Printmaker : the I. Webb Surratt, Jr. Print Collection (Richmond : University of Richmond Museums, 2001).]] (Fig. 20). The Florentine populace, already excluded by the court theatre, was now cut out of the tournament and outdoor theatrical events. Their marginalization from courtly festivities was complete as even their validating presence as spectator was no longer required. The grand dukes continued to spend lavishly for the staging of these grand events, especially the carousels, but the audience was more select.

Stefano della Bella, Carousel for Ferdinand II, engraving, 1637, Art Institute of Chicago

The guest list included the local court, but was also extended ever farther and wider thanks to the distribution of festival books that documented the occasions with detailed description and illustrations. We might conclude that the populace of Florence, having been put under siege and surrendered, was no longer made a target. The Medici grand dukes may have looked to a new formula, that of the sumptuous, private affair that could be more controlled and orderly, and its subsequent reproduction and distribution in printed materials would communicate their power and magnificence to an international audience.


[1With the help of Pope Julius II and a Spanish army, cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici sacked Prato and gained power in Florence. See John M. Najemy, A History of Florence 1200-1575 (Oxford : Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 415.

[2Randolph Starn and Loren Partridge, Arts of Power : Three Halls of State in Italy 1300-1600, Berkeley and Los Angeles : University of California Press, 1992, 158.

[3Federico Ghisi, Feste Musicali della Firenze Medicea (1480-1589) (Bologna : Forni Editori, 1939), 7.

[4Cosimo I obtained the title of “grand duke” in 1569 from Pius V and was crowned in Rome in 1570. See John M. Najemy, A History of Florence 1200-1575 (Oxford : Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 487.

[5Roy Strong, Art and Power : Renaissance Festivals, 1450-1650 (Berkeley : University of California Press, 1984), 4-7.

[6For print culture and use of fireworks see Martha Pollak, Cities at War : Baroque Fortifications and Military Urbanism, unpublished, Chapters 3 and 5.

[7Martha Pollak, “Representations of the city in siege views of the seventeenth century : The war of military images and their production,” in City Walls : The urban enceinte in global perspective, ed. by James D. Tracy (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000), 613.

[8Strong, Art and Power, 27.

[9M.A. Katritzky, “The Florentine Entrata of Joanna of Austria and Other Entrate Described in a German Diary,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 59 (1996), 158.

[10Richard Schechner and Willa Appel, ed., By Means of Performance : Intercultural Studies of Theatre and Ritual (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1990), 1.

[11Donald Weber, “From Limen to Border : A meditation on the legacy of Victor Turner for American Cultural Studies” in American Quarterly, vol. 47, no 3 (1995), 526-8.

[12Katritzky, “The Entrata in a German Diary,” 160.

[13Principe Piero Ginori Conti, ed., L’Apparato per le Nozze di Francesco de’ Medici e di Giovanna d’Austria : nelle narrazioni del tempo e da lettere inedited di Vincenzo Borghini e di Giorgio Vasari (Firenze : Olschki, 1936), 1.

[14Giovanni Fanelli, Le Cittá nella Storia d’Italia : Firenze, (Firenze : Editori Laterza, 1980), 1.

[15Anna Maria Testaverde, “Feste Medicee : la visita, le nozze e il trionfo” in La Citta’ Effimera e l’universo artificiale del giardino : la Firenze dei Medici e l’Italia del ’500, ed. by Marcello Fagiolo (Roma : Officina, 1980), 70.

[16Kenneth M. Setton, “Penrose Memorial Lecture. Pope Leo X and the Turkish Peril,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 113, No. 6, (1969), 369-370.

[17John Shearman, “The Florentine Entrata of Leo X, 1515 in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 38. (1975), 140.

[18Testaverde, Città Effimera, 70-4.

[19John Shearman, “The Florentine Entrata of Leo X, 1515 in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 38. (1975), 140.

[20For Alessandro de’ Medici and the Florentine Fortezza da Basso see J.R. Hale, “The End of Florentine Liberty : The Fortezza da Basso,” in Florentine Studies : Politics and Society in Renaissance Florence, ed. Nicolai Rubinstein, (London : Faber and Faber, 1968), 501-533.

[21Maria Adriana Giusti, Edilizia in Toscana dal XV al XVII Secolo (Firenze : Edifir, 1990), 98-102.

[22For “wide and continuous military streets” see Pollak, Martha, Cities at War, Chapter 4, to be published forthcoming.

[23Archivio di Stato di Firenze [hereafter ASF], Mediceo del Principato [hereafter MDP] 183, f˚ 289, written by Cosimo I de’Medici to an unknown recipient. “Essendosene fatto per V.Ex. et tutta la nobilità et università di questa sua città et stato tanti extriseci segni et demostrationi di exuberantia et gaudio et letitia con tanti ornatissimi apparati, amirabili expettaculi, inestimabili, splendidissimi et ordinatissimi conviti et altri piacevoli et honestissimi trattenimenti, et finalmente celabratosi tutto quello che all’ornato et gloria del mondo si potessi maggiormente desiderar et excogitar […]”

[24Giovanni Fanelli, Le Città nella Storia d’Italia : Firenze, (Firenze : Editori Laterzi 1980), 94.

[25ASF, MDP 1169, f˚ 139, written by Ugolino Griffoni to Pier Francesco Riccio. “[…] Altro non ho che dire a V. S.ria che la intrata nostra in questa città. Fu alle XXIII hore con gran fracasso di arteglierie et di campane. Furno riceute loro Ex.tie [Cosimo I ; Eleonora di Toledo] al Palazzo quondam de’ Signori [Palazzo del Comune] da’ più nobili della città et in su la porta di esso palazzo da X gentildonne belle al possibile […]”

[26Pierfrancesco Giambullari, Apparato et feste nelle nozze dello illustrissimo signor Duca di Firenze e della Duchessa sua Consorte con le sue stanze (Firenze : Benedetto Giunta, 1539), 5.

[27Maurizio Arfaioli, The Black Bands of Giovanni : Infantry and Diplomacy during the Italian Wars (1526-1528) (Pisa : Pisa University Press, 2005), 21-23.

[28Leonid Tarassuk, Italian Armor for Princely Courts : Renaissance Armor from the Trupin Family Trust and The George F. Harding Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago : The Art Institute of Chicago, 1986), 4-5.

[29Thomas Arnold, Renaissance at War (London : Cassell & Co., 2001), 32.

[30Arnold, Renaissance at War, 33.

[31Strong, Art and Power, 130.

[32Anton Francesco Cirni Corso, La reale entrata dell’eccellentissimo signor Duca et Duchessa di Fiorenza, in Siena, con la significazione delle Latine inscrittioni, e con alcuni Sonetti (Roma : Antonio Blado Stampator Camerale, 1560), 4.

[33Testaverde, Città Effimera, 74-79.

[34Cosimo’s seat of power was in the Palazzo Medici until 1540, when he and Eleonora moved into the Palazzo della Signoria.

[35ASF, 1176a, f˚ 146, written by Agnolo di Matteo Niccolini to Ugolino Griffoni on December 23, 1539. “[…] Quando non habbi facultà di farci faccenda alchuna, attenderò a vedere la città, li archi, et altri ornamentj et finalmente l’entrata di Caesare [Karl V von Habsburg] per la quale si ordinano assai similj honori, feste, giostre et altri trattenimenti […] Non pensi V.S.ria che li archi sieno di quella bellezza et grazia che l’ha visto costà, o ultimamente nella venuta della S.ra Duchessa [Eleonora da Toledo] o prima nell’entrata di Caesare, perchè sono molto semplici et sgarbati et solamente ci è dipinta l’Aquila Imperiale sanza altra sorte di brevi o d’inventione. […]”

[36Testaverde, Città Effimera, 75.

[37ASF, MDP 2, f˚ 188, from Cosimo I de’Medici to Luigi di Piero Ridolfi. “[…] Bene è vero che le altre feste disegnate in mediate doppo la intrata della Duchessa le diffiriremo al S. Giovanni perchè in quell tempo alla solemità delle nozze si aggiungerà la festa publica principale e solemne della città la quale non debbe essere in ogni modo intermessa […]”.

[38ASF, MDP 1. Letter dated November 17, 1565 from Cosimo I de’ Medici to Antonio Altoviti. “[…] Perchè la S.tà di Nostro Signore [Pius IV] ci ha concesso gratia che per un mese V.S. possa venire a Fiorenza a honorare la venuta della S.ra Principessa nostra nuora [Johanna von Habsburg-de’Medici], et per un altro mese dimorarci, […]”

[39Domenico Mellini, Descrizione dell’Entrata della Serenissima Reina Giovanna d’Austria et dell’ apparato, fatto in firenze nella venuta, e per le felicissime nozze di Sua Altezza et dell’Illustrissimo, e Eccelentiss. S. Don Francesco de Medici, Prencipe di Fiorenza e di Siena (Firenze : Giunti, 1566), 7.

[40Anton Francesco Cirni Corso, La reale entrata dell’eccellentissimo signor Duca et Duchessa di Fiorenza, in Siena, con la significazione delle Latine inscrittioni, e con alcuni Sonetti (Roma : Antonio Blado Stampator Camerale, 1560), 6, “[…]Già si sentiva, che la Fortezza faceva gran gazarra d’artigliaria. […]”

[41Katritzky, “The Entrata in a German Diary,” 156.

[42ASF, MDP 518, f˚ 504, see Appendix.

[43ASF, MDP 518, f˚ 504, see Appendix.

[44Mellini, Descrizione, 6.

[45ASF, MDP 518, f˚ 504, see Appendix.

[46Arnold, Renaissance at War, 32, and an illustration of the event can be found in Pollak, Martha, Cities at War, Chapter 3, fig. 11.

[47Piero Ginori Conti, ed., L’Apparato per le Nozze di Francesco de’Medici e di Giovanna d’Austria nelle narrazioni del tempo e da lettere inedited di Vincenzo Borghini e di Giorgio Vasari (Firenze : Olschki, 1936), 7.

[48Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 10.

[49Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 12.

[50Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 14-16.

[51Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 16.

[52Mellini, Descrizione, 31.

[53Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 20.

[54Katritzky, “The Entrata in a German Diary,” 159.

[55Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 30.

[56Testaverde, Città Effimera, 83.

[57Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 42-3.

[58R. A. Scorza, “Vincenzo Borghini and Invenzione : The Florentine Apparato of 1565” in
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 44. (1981) : 60.

[59Scorza, “Vincenzo Borghini and Invenzione,” 60.

[60Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 48.

[61Ginori Conti, L’Apparato, 53.

[62Gino Belloni and Riccardo Drusi, ed., Vincenzo Borghini : Filologia e Invenzione nella Firenze di Cosimo I (Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 2002), 74-76.

[63Giovanna Gaeta Bertelà e Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II (Firenze : Olschki Editori, 1969), 68-69.

[64Bertelà and Petrioli Tofani, Feste, 132.

[65Testaverde, Città Effimera, 84.

[66Il Seicento Fiorentino : Biografie : Arte a Firenze da Ferdinando I a Cosimo III (Firenze : Cantini Editori, 1986), 45.

[67Bronwen Wilson, The World in Venice (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2005), 22.

[68Testaverde, Città Effimera, 89.

[69La Fortuna di Cosimo I ; La Battaglia di Scannagallo. Catalog of exhibit organized by Foiano della Chiana, Palazzo Granducale Lucignano, Museo Comunale Marciano della Chiana, Palazzo Comunale, (1992), 140.

[70Claudia Rousseau, “The Pageant of the Muses at the Medici Wedding of 1539 and the Decoration of the Salone dei Cinquecento” in Theatrical Spectacle and Spectacular Theatre : papers in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University, Vol. VI part 2, (Pennsylvania State University, 1990), 424-430.

[71Il Luogo Teatrale a Firenze : mostra a Palazzo Medici Riccardi (Firenze : Electa Editrice, 1975), 70.

[72Anna Maria Petrioli ed., Mostra di Disegni Vasariani, Carri Trionfali e Costumi per la Geneologia degli Dei (1565) (Firenze : Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1966), 9.

[73Andrea Salvadori, Guerra d’Amore festa del serenissimo gran duca di Toscana Cosimo II, fatta in Firenze il carnevale 1615 (Firenze : Zanobi Pignoni, 1615), 6.

[74Bastiano de’Rossi, Descrizione dell’apparato e degl’ intermedi. Fatti per la commedia rappresentata in Firenze. Nelle nozze de’ serenissimi Don Ferdinando Medici, e Madama Cristina de Loreno, gran duchi di Toscana (Firenze : A. Paouani, 1589), 1-6.

[75Andrea Salvadori, Guerra d’Amore festa del serenissimo gran duca di Toscana Cosimo II, Fatta in Firenze il carnevale del 1615, Firenze : Zanobi Pignoni, 1615, 5.

[76Salvadori, Guerra d’Amore, 5.

[77Salvadori, Guerra d’Amore, 38.

[78Salvadori, Guerra d’Amore, 40.

[79Giovanna Bertelà. and Annamaria Petrioli Tofani eds., Feste e Apparati Medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II, Firenze : L.S. Olschki, 1969, 119-120.

[80Bertelà, Feste e Apparati, 120-121.

[81Bertelà, Feste e Apparati, 121.

[82Elvira Garbero Zorzi and Mario Sperenzi, Teatro e Spettacolo nella Firenze dei Medici (Firenze : Olschki, 2001), 36.

[83Charles Johnson, Stefano della Bella Baroque Printmaker : The I.Webb Surratt, Jr. Print Collection (Richmond : University of Richmond Museums, 2001), 16.