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Giovanni de Medici, thanks to a contract stipulated with the Papacy twenty years before, has transformed his family bank into an unprecedented economic force. But then, Giovanni is mysteriously murdered, and his sons, Cosimo and Lorenzo, are forced to face a range of enemies plotting to oust the Medici from power. First in line is Rinaldo Albizzi, head of the faction of nobles, who stands opposed not only to the rise of the middle class, favored by the Medici, but also to Cosimos vision for the city, including his patronage of magnificent works of art and architecture by such great artists as Donatello and Brunelleschi.
Also in the Medici family keeping the peace is not an easy task. Lorenzo and Cosimo are nearly opposite in temperament, and Cosimos marriage to Contessina de Bardi formed as a political alliance but then matured into a formidable partnership will be severely strained during his exile in Venice. It is there that Cosimo takes up with Maddalena, a beautiful slave who becomes his mistress and the mother of his illegitimate son.
In the meantime, the mystery of who killed Giovanni continues to lurk behind the scenes, and a new arch-enemy appears on the horizon in the person of the rival banker Pazzi. All the while, the onerous guilt of the compromises made and the evil done for the good of the family weighs heavily on Cosimos soul. He must decide how far he is willing to go to preserve his vision of Florence a vision we now know as the Renaissance.
After 20 years of grooming, Cosimo Medici replaces his late father in Florence's Signoria, where he must decide whether to support a call for war.
As the war with Milan takes a heavy toll on Florence, Cosimo boosts morale and the economy by undertaking the impossible: building the cathedral dome.
While Albizzi uses the plague to turn Florentines against Cosimo and his dome, two Medici family members are lost. Marco forces a shocking confession.
After Cosimo's arrest, his wife tries to buy a Signoria member's help. Piero seeks to refute the charges, whilst Lorenzo takes a more drastic approach.
In exile in Venice, Cosimo finds himself drawn to a slave woman. Meanwhile, back in Florence, Contessina runs into her childhood sweetheart.
Cosimo returns to Florence while Rinaldo is held for trial on treason and tyranny. Cosimo is visited by an unexpected guest, the Pope. Cosimo convinces the Signoria to exile Rinaldo. The night before his exile, Rinaldo confesses to Giovanni's murder.
Cosimo, "in the shadow of two murders" and the imminent election of a new member in order to undertake Rhinaldo's position, is also confronted with suspicions upon his own brother. Suspicions and rumors are what dominate in Florence. To whom will these suspicions turn to?
Pazzi has managed to convince the Pope to remove the Medici as Church bankers, but Cosimo is disinclined to surrender what he has worked so hard to attain.
Richard Madden(Cosimo de' Medici)
Stuart Martin(Lorenzo de' Medici)
Dustin Hoffman(Giovanni de' Medici)
Annabel Scholey(Contessina de' Medici)
Guido Caprino(Marco Bello)
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