The recently published “Il Granduca Innamorato” (Nardini, 2017) tells the story of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco I de’ Medici, and his second beloved wife, Bianca Cappello. It delves into the mystery of their sudden deaths at the Medici Villa in Poggio a Caiano, which occurred only a few hours apart from one another. Not even modern scientists have discovered the reasons that led to their premature end. Although the original death certificates mention malaria, it has been widely speculated that the couple was poisoned, possibly by Francesco’s brother, Ferdinando de’ Medici.
Francesco inherited from his father, Cosimo I, the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany. However, he was never able to succeed in ruling efficiently over the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Francesco had neither the personality nor the willpower of his late father and spent most of the time studying or with his mistress, Bianca Cappello. Ferdinando could never let the powerful Medici name and Cosimo’s great successes be destroyed.
The author, ISI Florence Professor Stefano Corazzini, spent several years inside Palazzo Vecchio studying the Medici family. The book is a tribute to Francesco I, a man of contradictions, who respected the rules and norms imposed on him by his family, but in the end remained true to himself and pursued his own dreams.