Renaissance Italian Politician. He was the Duke of Florence and Grand Duke of Tuscany. Among his many accomplishments were the creation of the ‘Uffizi,' originally intended to house the government, and now one of the world's great art galleries; the expansion of Florence to control most of Tuscany, including Siena; taking over the Pitti Palace as a home for the Medici and finishing it off; the promotion of the University of Pisa; and a host of other accomplishments in the economic, architectural and artistic spheres. In 1539 he married the beautiful and extremely rich daughter of the Viceroy of Naples, Eleonora of Toledo, who gave him eleven children and the royal palace at Pitti (she died with her sons Giovanni and Garzia in 1562, when she was only forty; all three of them struck down by malarial fever while travelling to Pisa). A large equestrian statue of him in bronze, erected in 1598, still stands today in the Piazza della Signoria, the main square of Florence.
Bio by: MC