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Publisher's Summary

At its height, Renaissance Florence was a center of enormous wealth, power, and influence. A republican city-state funded by trade and banking, its often bloody political scene was dominated by rich mercantile families, the most famous of which were the Medici. This enthralling book charts the family's huge influence on the political, economic, and cultural history of Florence. Beginning in the early 1430s with the rise of the dynasty under the near-legendary Cosimo de Medici, it moves through their golden era as patrons of some of the most remarkable artists and architects of the Renaissance, to the era of the Medici Popes and Grand Dukes, Florence's slide into decay and bankruptcy, and the end, in 1737, of the Medici line.

©1974 Christopher Hibbert (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A superb introduction to the history and arts created by one man's greed." (Books for Breakfast)

What listeners say about The House of Medici

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Laundry list of names

Would you try another book from Christopher Hibbert and/or Michael Page?

I was interested in learning more about the Medicis so this seemed to be a good choice. It would no doubt have been better as an actual book but as an audio book, the endless list of people involved in every part of the book made it difficult to follow the "plot" - to get the bigger picture of the history. It just seemed like an encyclopedic listing of all the family members and their neighbors. I did make it about 90% of the way through but ultimately couldn't finish it. All that said, I did get a general sense of the history of the family. I probably wouldn't buy another book from this author though. Michael Page's narration was fine - seemed like authentic Italian pronunciation of the many, many names and titles.

What was most disappointing about Christopher Hibbert’s story?

It was boring.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

No problems with the narrator.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration and disappointment

7 people found this helpful

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All around A+

This book was fascinating! The story was told in a way that I felt I was in Florence, I felt that I was part of the story. Well done!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Good First Half

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Hibbert's history maintains a weak and modestly approving story through Lorenzo the Magnificent. After that, the story disappears among names, tangents and snide comments. Listening becomes extremely difficult in the latter half of the book. Hibbert's descriptions are simply cruel, and the cruelty is compounded by Page's haughty tone. Why, for instance, does Hibbert focus so many lines on on the smell and pain of Pope Leo X's anal fistula? Pope Leo certainly made errors, but Hibbert's credibility founders when he mocks Leo's illness.

I'll try to return the book for a credit.

Would you recommend The House of Medici to your friends? Why or why not?

I would not recommend the entire book or narration. Copy or borrow the early chapters through Cosimo.

What didn’t you like about Michael Page’s performance?

Very, very irritating. He accentuates Hibbert's disdain and haughty phrasing.

Could you see The House of Medici being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Anything can get turned into a movie. Would it be good? Probably not.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A world I never knew about.

The history is fantastic and ties together so many things: art, philosophy, religion and a family dynasty.

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Great Overview / Fantastic Narrator

This is a compelling introductory to the Medici, the times in which they lived, their corruptions and contributions to Florence, and their drive to further their family legacy. I found this to be an easy read despite the many foreign names and personalities, and this was aided in no small measure from the absolutely superb Audible narration.
My only recommendation would be for the book to include a picture of the family tree and maps of Florence and Italy.

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Mediccis built Florence

One of the most influential families in the history of the world are revealed in this fascinating narrative.

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No need for Hollywood here

A true picture of the Medici very much worth the time and an excellent performance


The Medici simple the truth... does not need Hollywood's lies to be entertaining

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A Must Read for any Visitor to Florence

Hibbert presents the highs and lows, and everything in between,,of the Medicis in an authoritative and very entertaining way. A wonderful introduction to the wonders of Florence and the family responsible for much of it.




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Poorly written

This book is written in style similar to a stream of consciousness. It is difficult to follow the author's idea that he is trying to convey. It is very poorly written and believe you should not pay more than $5.00 for this book.

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A book for history buffs.

I would have loved to learn more about Catherine de Medici, the French regent. Fun stories to listen to.