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Friday, March 8, 2013

    Once upon a time there was a family named Medici who built the Italian city of Firenze aka Florence in English. They really did, along with making some Popes (4, but who's counting?) and probably the best family collection of art ever known in the western world even to this day. 
The family got to be mega-rich over time, in part, by establishing their own bank. Of course, having 4 Popes in the fam-bam line didn't hurt either.

Then one century (the 16th), the Family decided to engage in a land-grab. Specifically, they wanted Siena, big time. Well, not "they" precisely, rather Cosimo I. He conquered Siena, and since Siena is where I am typing this at the moment, I thought I'd share some pictures of the Fortress the Medici Family had to build in order to hold Siena.

On the ramparts, looking out at The World.

Ramparts so wide one could walk around on them and survey all one thought one owned. So wide in fact, that 10 fully armed occupiers from Florence could walk abreast doing aforementioned surveying.

For example, one could easily survey the beautiful Duomo, with its now-complete dome.

As well as to the south and west, from whence a tap at the Tuscany door by Spain might arrive at any time (Or so went the operative paranoia of the day).

Inside the fortress, life was austere, being as Siena was far from the Medici's central seat of power.

But not utterly without its small joys, as this mini grandstand will attest.

So, did the fortress and its garrison succeed in keeping Siena under the Medici rule? Maybe. 

Could it have been the many, many, many politically expedient Medici marriages that were to follow??
Google for yourself and you be the judge.

from Siena,
P.S. All photo credits go to J. Plummer who is rocking this picture-taking thing!

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