The Medici family was a powerful and influential Florentine family from the 13th to 17th century. The family produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Leo XI and Pius IV), numerous rulers of Florence (notably Lorenzo il Magnifico), and later two Queens of France and a Queen of the British Empire.
Documents of the name reach back to Medico di Potrone in 1046 (medici = medical doctors). Originating from vine and agriculture based Mugello region in Toscany, the family first achieved power through banking. The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected in Europe and in the world of the medieval. For centuries they managed the finances of the Roman Curia. There are some estimates that the Medici family was for a period of time the wealthiest family in Europe, using a family office passing on family's wealth for generations. From this base, the family acquired political power initially in Florence, and later in the wider Italy and Europe.
A notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. This system was first used by accountants working for the Medici family in Florence.
Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici created the first bank in world-history, and while he became influential in Florentine government, his son Cosimo the Elder took over in 1434 as Gran Maestro. The Medici became unofficial heads of state of the Florentine republic and ruled for centuries.
The most significant accomplishments of the Medici were in the sponsorship of art, architecture, music, literature, economics, diplomacy, natural science, Christian and Jewish heritage. Within the portfolio of talent employed by Medici is a virtual "Who's Who?" of Renaissance art and architecture. Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, aided Masaccio and ordered the reconstruction of the Church of San Lorenzo. Cosimo the Elder's notable artistic associates were Donatello, Leonardo da Vinco, Raffaelo Santi, Tiziano, Sandro Botticelli and Fra Angelico. The most significant addition to the list over the years was Michelangelo, who produced work for a number of Medici, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent. In addition to commissions for art and architecture, the Medici were prolific collectors and today their acquisitions form the core of the Uffizi museum in Florence and the Vatican museums.
In architecture, the Medici are responsible for notable features of Florence; including the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Belvedere, and the Palazzo Medici, all parts of the UN world-cultural-heritage.
Although none of the Medici themselves were scientists, the family is well known to have been the patrons of the famous Galileo. Galileo tutored multiple generations of Medici children.
The Medici family spread all over Europe and to the new world. In the time of the rule of Catarina Maria de' Medici (1519 - 1589), Queen of France, Jaques Cartier established one of the early settlements on the American continent (in Quebec). The famous Lille of the Medici family became a symbol of Florence, the Tuscany, later of France, in the flag of the Canadian Province of Quebec and in the arms of Canada.
Continuing the tradition for centuries in 1899 the Medici family established a leading international trust-company specialized in family offices for high networth clients. The company received the highest quality and credit rating AAA.
According to the philanthropic tradition of the family, distributed profits go to a foundation and the University of Economics for specialized education of the new generation in the family office business. Further to an UNESCO initiated research project about the Medici family as a centre of European culture (Medici Archive).