The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded (Google eBook)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 3, 2008 - History - 304 pages
12 Reviews
A brutal murder, a nefarious plot, a coded letter. After five hundred years, the most notorious mystery of the Renaissance is finally solved.

The Italian Renaissance is remembered as much for intrigue as it is for art, with papal politics and infighting among Italyís many city-states providing the grist for Machiavelliís classic work on take-no-prisoners politics, The Prince. The attempted assassination of the Medici brothers in the Duomo in Florence in 1478 is one of the best-known examples of the machinations endemic to the age. While the assailants were the Mediciís rivals, the Pazzi family, questions have always lingered about who really orchestrated the attack, which has come to be known as the Pazzi Conspiracy.

More than five hundred years later, Marcello Simonetta, working in a private archive in Italy, stumbled upon a coded letter written by Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, to Pope Sixtus IV. Using a codebook written by his own ancestor to crack its secrets, Simonetta unearthed proof of an all-out power grab by the Pope for control of Florence. Montefeltro, long believed to be a close friend of Lorenzo de Medici, was in fact conspiring with the Pope to unseat the Medici and put the more malleable Pazzi in their place.

In The Montefeltro Conspiracy, Simonetta unravels this plot, showing not only how the plot came together but how its failure (only one of the Medici brothers, Giuliano, was killed; Lorenzo survived) changed the course of Italian and papal history for generations. In the course of his gripping narrative, we encounter the periodís most colorful characters, relive its tumultuous politics, and discover that two famous paintings, including one in the Sistine Chapel, contain the Mediciís astounding revenge.

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Review: The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded

User Review  - Andrew Trask - Goodreads

The author has an interesting thesis, and backs it up with a heck of a lot of solid primary source evidence. His discussion on the Pazzi conspiracy (or, as he would call it, "the Montefeltro ... Read full review

Review: The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded

User Review  - Kate - Goodreads

This was ok, but a little disjointed feeling. I think I might have appreciated it more had I read it back when I first wanted to, when the events of the Pazzi conspiracy were a little fresher from my ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

MARCELLO SIMONETTA, Ph. D., received his doctorate in Renaissance Studies from Yale and has taught at Wesleyan University. He has been featured on The History Channel, and in 2007 he curated an exhibition on Federico da Montefeltroís library at the Morgan Library & Museum. He lives in New York.

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