ITALY. Tuscany. Testone, 1567. Cosimo I De Medici (1537-74). CNI XII 180; Morosini II 14. Nicely toned and evenly presented with a fine Renaissance portrait of the Duke on the obverse and St. John the Baptist seated on the reverse. After the murder of Alessandro de Medici (see Florence for one of his testone we are offering in this sale), Cosimo established himself as Duke of Florence in 1537. He successfully arranged the evacuation of Spanish troops and conquered the city of Siena in 1555. The pope made him grand duke of Tuscany in 1569, a title he and his heirs held until 1737.Provenance: From the Collection of Dr. James Eustace Bizzell, II.
The Republic of Florence, officially the Florentine Republic, or Repubblica di Firenze), was a medieval and early modern state that was centered on the Italian city of Florence in Tuscany. The republic originated in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon the death of Matilda of Tuscany, who controlled vast territories that included Florence. The Florentines formed a commune in her successors' place. The republic was ruled by a council known as the Signoria of Florence. The signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere (titular ruler of the city), who was elected every two months by Florentine guild members. During the Republic's history, Florence was an important cultural, economic, political and artistic force in Europe. Its coin, the florin, became a world monetary standard. During the Republican period, Florence was also the birthplace of the Renaissance, which is considered a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth”. The republic had a checkered history of coups and counter-coups against various factions. The Medici faction gained governance of the city in 1434 under Cosimo de' Medici. The Medici kept control of Florence until 1494. Giovanni de' Medici (later Pope Leo X) re-conquered the republic in 1512. Florence repudiated Medici authority for a second time in 1527, during the War of the League of Cognac. The Medici re-assumed their rule in 1531 after an 11-month siege of the city, aided by Emperor Charles V. Pope Clement VII, himself a Medici, appointed his relative Alessandro de' Medici as the first "Duke of the Florentine Republic", thereby transforming the Republic into a hereditary monarchy. The second Duke, Cosimo I, established a strong Florentine navy and expanded his territory, conquering Siena. In 1569, the Pope declared Cosimo the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. The Medici ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1737.