By the mid-sixteenth century, the Medici family – initially bankers and businessmen – had evolved into the dynasty that today needs no introduction. Through a series of military and political events from the early thirteenth century onward, the House of Medici rose to the ranks of both republic and duchy in Florence, gaining influence well beyond its city’s confines with each new political leader and pope it produced. The Mighty Medici focuses on the role of the Medici family in the mid to late sixteenth century in a seminal moment in Florence’s transition from Republic to Duchy. More specifically, it aims to take a closer look at Cosimo I’s political program beyond the Tuscan wars that characterized the climate of his reign, extending to his policies on and carefully calculated patronage of art and literature, and the dissent these decisions caused among Florentine intellectuals and elite. This class will make principal use of the city of Florence as a classroom, relying heavily on the monuments and artistic legacy the Medici left there for its interactive approach to history, literature, and the history of art.