araldica di firenze: the guicciardini

guicciardini 3

Family: Guicciardini
Dates to: 1199
Meaningful shapes, colors and symbols: Three hunter's horns on a blue background
Where to find it: Palazzo Guicciardini, near Palazzo Pitti

The Guicciardini were very successful Florentine merchants, and became quite wealthy as a result.  As with many notable Florentine families, they were drawn into the city's politics and produces many priori, gonfalonieri and, later, senators of the Grand Duchy.  Members of the Guicciardini family were named ambassador to various Popes, states and courts, including Anjou, Venice, Bologna, Ferrara and Milan.  One of the notable services the family performed for Florence was done by Jacopo Guicciardini.  He was named "altro commissario di guerra" (High Commissioner of War) four times during the tumultuous second half of the 14th century.  In this position he oversaw Florence's participation in wars against Pope Sixtus IV (of Sistine Chapel fame) and the King of Naples, Volterra, Fregoso, and Genoa.  He was a close friend of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the de facto ruler of Florence during this time.

The family can also claim some literary fame. Francesco Gicciardini, a contemporary and friend of Duke Alessandro de' Medici, wrote la Storia d'Italia, which not only provides a rich account of the politics of Italy from the 1490s to the 1530s, but is also the foundation of modern history, as he was one of the first historians to use original documents to verify his writings.  Of course, Francesco had ample documentation from which to work, as he was Pope Leo X's (formerly Giovanni Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent) governor of Reggio and Modena. Later on, he was Pope Clement VII's (formerly Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici) governor of Parma. And, just to round out his resume, he was a General in the Papal Army during the Sack of Rome in 1527.