La Famiglia Medici

This Sunday our resident art scholar Rosa Di Grottole will present the third class in her series on the Medici family.  From the poor origins of the family through their amassing wealth and power the guiding force in the family was “What is good for the city is good for the family”. This family’s art legacy lives on today centuries after the family itself died out.  Consider the expanse of the Medici family tree:


And here is a bit of history from a Youtube video: The Medici


If you missed this series then watch our calendar and Facebook page for more classes on the art history of Italy. Learn more of how linked it is to demonstrations of wealth and power by bankers and royalty and popes.


Will You Support an American Scholar in Italy?

The Italian Embassy at Washington DC has awarded Ryan Peaks their summer scholarship 2017 at Club Italiano Dante Alighieri a Roma. His classes in Italy will run through much of July allowing him to return in time to attend Wittenburg University in the fall. This means his tuition and lodging are covered but for him to take advantage of this opportunity he needs our support for travel and expenses when in Italy.  Will you help?

The Italian Embassy has made schooling and lodging available for Ryan and we in the central Ohio Italo-centric community are coming together to aid in his airfare, food, and travel within Italy; we are targeting $3,000.  Corporate sponsorship, as will be duly noted in publications, is just $250.  Individuals are guided by their generosity and their desire to assist a student improve his command of the Italian language and bring our two great nations closer together.  Just a small participation from each in the community would help us achieve his goal!

The Rome Language Centre of the Dante Alighieri group was formed in 1981 and specializes in teaching
Italian language and culture to students from all over the world. The Italian Ministry of Education recognizes the school’s high calibre instruction. They are similar to Accademia Italiana Salerno that Italia in Ohio uses for our own study abroad program each year.

A bit about Ryan Peaks: he is a graduating senior at DeSales High School and attended St. James the Less Elementary and middle school. He enjoys Italian class, and isn’t afraid to speak the language. He will benefit from being in the country where he will practice and it will truly bring him to the next level. What a great experience for Ryan in preparation for his first semester in college.

Ryan has been on honor roll for most quarters since freshman year. Ryan’s teachers characterize him as an extremely charismatic individual who is liked by all. They have often situated shy students near him in order for him to “get them out of their shells” and it has worked every time. Your generosity will allow him to grow and make all of us proud to have been a part of his learning process.

So – shall we rally together and send this young man to Italy?  To offer your support contact Sergio Simon at .


The Medici: Art and Power

The Medici of Florence were a powerful dynasty, but unlike many such they used their wealth in a manner that has benefitted the world for six centuries.  The Medici were an Italian banking family, political dynasty and later royal house that traces back to the 13th century and first began to gain prominence under Cosimo de’ Medici in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century. The family grew into the largest bank in Europe giving the family significant influence in business, politics, and religion. 

The Medici family together were the wealthiest family in Europe and from this base they acquired political power far beyond the city limits. Initially they held sway in Florence and later throughout most of northern Italy as they acquired dominance over smaller and less wealthy neighboring cities. Their prestige and connections gave rise to three popes, two queens, and eventually the Grand Duchy of Tuscany which they ruled and their power did not decline until the early 18th century.

 In the business world the Medici revolutionized a system of bank accounting but it was for their love and support for the arts that they are remembered.  The family, as businessmen and as popes, allocated tremendous amounts of money and oversaw the evolution of art from medieval to the glories of the Italian Humanist Renaissance. 

Think of an artist’s name from that period and chances are that the Medici hired him to do their bidding: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Raphael, Donatello, Fra Angelica, Rubens, and more. They undertook the creations of numerous collections exhibited in the Uffici Gallery, the Boboli Gardens, the Palazzo Medici, and many more. And they were the daring supporters of Galileo Galilei until he ran afoul of the Inquisition.

A video teaser of the Medici presentations: Medici Video

Our new series of presentations with art scholar Rose DiGrottole is based on the lives, history, and art of the Medici dynasty.  Rosa, who lived in the Medici city of Firenze for ten years, has sketched out a plan for your stroll through art and time in three 90 minute events:

June 4th – The Early Medici and their artists: Cosimo il Vecchio e Lorenzo il Magnifico and the beginning of a new era in Florence.  Art in the Duomo, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, Chiesa di San Marco, Palazzo Medici in Via Larga. Works by Brunelleschi, Donatello, Fra Angelico,

June 11th – The Medici power: Medici’s Popes, Medici’s Queens, Cosimo I, Francesco I and Ferdinando I, the Renaissance and the Granduchy.  The Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, works by Vasari, Michelangelo, Raffaello

June 18th – The Last Medici: Cosimo II, Ferdinando II, Leopoldo II, Cosimo III, Gian Gastone, Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici.  The Cappelle Medicee, Palazzo Pitti, works by Giardini di Boboli, Ville Medicee

The Medici forever changed the art of the western world and the family left their mark on Italian culture that has endured for nearly 600 years.

Join Rosa and other enthusiasts of Italian art, history, and culture.  Dates are Sundays June 4, 11, and 18 with presentations at 5 PM.  The cost for the 3-class series is just $60.  Location is the Italia in Ohio offices, 4663 Executive Drive, Columbus 43220.

Sign-up on-line under the “Classes” tab.
For more details e-mail
or phone 614.538.8000