If you’re a fan of political intrigue, Medici: Masters of Florence is the show for you. With a fabulous script, actors Richard Madden, Stuart Martin, Annabel Scholey, Lex Shrapnel, Daniel Caltagirone, and Dustin Hoffman bring the bitter fighting between houses to life. However, history buffs should check their knowledge at the door. The producers took a number of liberties to tell the story. Still, the series is enjoyable. The dialogue, the intrigue, sets and costumes, and, of course, that bit of romance, truly captured my interest.
Netflix’s Medici: Masters of Florence centers around the continuing rise of the Medici family after the sudden death of Giovanni de’ Medici. Cosimo, his eldest son, steps into his father’s shoes and begins a dangerous game of chess with the enemies of his family. Through flashbacks, the audience learns of how the Medici’s came to power, the ruthless nature of Giovanni in his quest to rise to power, and the sacrifices Cosimo made to fit his father’s mold.
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Medici: Masters of Florence Review
In any political drama, the dialogue is key. First, it needs to be smart and fast. There is an art to political debate. Notably, the ability to make your point with polite insults. I thought Medici: Masters of Florence captured the political jargon of the period very well. In particular, the scenes in the Signoria (the governing body of Florence) resembled a fencing match. Watching the Medici’s and Albizzi’s trade insults was pure fun. The two families attempt to outwit each other at every turn. Back and forth until only one family is left standing.
Yet, Medici: Masters of Florence is not just about the politics of the era. It is also about a murder. Of course, politics and murder tend to go hand in hand. In this case, the mystery is the murder of Giovanni de’ Medici. The search for answers takes a wild path. Consequently, the Medici’s attention is split between solidifying their position and solving the mystery. There is just enough cloak and dagger to keep your interest. But, not so much to bore you. Instead, the pace moves forward at just the right time.
Setting the Stage in Medici: Masters of Florence
Equally essential to the series is Cosimo’s journey and the sets. Especially that of the Duomo. Only half-built during the series, it plays a rather significant role in Cosimo’s characterization. In fact, for me, the unfinished dome represented Cosimo’s development. Thrust into the role of leader, Cosimo has one foot in his past and the other in the future. Cosimo believes he is losing himself to greed and power. Is he a monster, like his father, or something else entirely? There are many moments of Cosimo on his knees in prayer, looking for guidance.
Last, but certainly not least, is the romance in Medici: Masters of Florence. Romantic love is only a very small part of the series. Yet, women influence all of the Medici men. Moreover, the spouses of the Medici men are not wallflowers. Contessina, Cosimo’s wife, is just as much a power as Cosimo. Their marriage was not a love match. In fact, both loved others. However, you see their devotion to their family in their actions. While Cosimo may question her loyalty, Contessina proves again and again her devotion is to her family. And while both betray the other, in the end, they are the other’s greatest ally.
Final Thoughts on Medici: Masters of Florence
As I said above, Medici: Masters of Florence is not historically accurate. A few minutes of research will tell you that much of the art, architecture, and Medici history is from the wrong time period. Or, is simply untrue. Obviously, women in the 15th Century were not as powerful as Netflix insinuates. Moreover, history tells us that Cosimo was truly a Master of Florence. He was ruthless. As a result, it feels like Netflix is trying too hard. Also, I question the casting of Dustin Hoffman as Giovanni. I found the accent he used distracting. Luckily, he does not feature much in the series.
Last, I must give a shout-out to the exquisite costumes. They are not flashy. Instead, the costumes are sedated in appearance. It’s the color and the fabric that speaks. Sumptuous velvet and silks play just as an important role as the actors. The overall simplicity of the costumes enhances the character’s bearing. The clothing translates directly to their power. Also, it does not hurt that everyone is simply gorgeous. Plummy accents and chiseled jaws are everywhere!
By and large, Medici: Masters of Florence is enjoyable. Suspend your history knowledge and enjoy the pure drama!
Have you seen Medici: Masters of Florence on Netflix? What did you think? Drop me a line below!
Content Warning: TV-14 and TV-MA for some episodes for nudity and sexual encounters.
Photo Credit: Netflix