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Living on the Edge in Leonardo's FlorenceSelected Essays$
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Gene Brucker

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241343

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241343.001.0001

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Alessandra Strozzi (1408–1471)

Alessandra Strozzi (1408–1471)

The Eventful Life of a Florentine Matron

(p.151) Chapter Ten Alessandra Strozzi (1408–1471)
Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence

Jeff Mielke

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the life of Alessandra Strozzi and her family during the fifteenth century. It discusses the struggles and the triumphs of the family. Alessandra's story starts with her marriage to Matteo Strozzi, a member of one of the city's most distinguished lineages. When the Medicis emerged as a dominant force in Florentine politics, the Strozzis were one of the Medici enemies that were penalized by fines and sentenced to exile. Alessandra, her husband, and their family were among those sentenced to exile. Upon the death of her husband and three of their children, Alessandra returned to Florence and revived their family's economic status by managing her modest property. In this chapter are stories of how her sons prospered in Naples as bankers and merchants. Included also are narratives of how tough the times were in Florence, which was exacerbated further by excessive taxes, by harsh treatment by Medici officials, and by plague. It also narrates the tradition of arranged marriage as seen in the marriage arrangements made by Alessandra for her two daughters. Alessandra's story also touches on the politics prevailing during the Medici period, particularly those that concern her family. Although peculiar to the women of her time, Alessandra took an active interest in politics to guard her wealth and the wealth of her sons. At her death, her sons thrived and prospered. Her heirs triumphed and failed.

Keywords:   Alessandra Strozzi, fifteenth century, Medici, Florence, taxes, marriage arrangements, politics

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