Isabella de' Medici, principessa di Toscana

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Records for Isabella de' Medici

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About Isabella de' Medici, principessa di Toscana

Isabella Romola de' Medici (31 August 1542 – 16 July 1576) was the daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Eleonora di Toledo.

She was born in Florence and was educated along with her brothers and sisters to a high standard. A great beauty of her day, she had a lively, high-spirited and impulsive character that was commented on by courtiers.

In 1553, when she was only eleven years old, Isabella was betrothed to Paolo Giordano Orsini, a violent condottiero who held the Duchy of Bracciano, a southern neighbour to Tuscany. The two married in 1558. Her father Cosimo negotiated a marriage contract which ensured that Isabella could continue to live in Florence instead of with her husband, thus ensuring that she had far more freedom and control over her own affairs than other women of her era. Following her mother's death, she acted as first lady of Florence for a time, displaying the de' Medici aptitude for politics. She suffered several miscarriages and did not have children until her late twenties, which also meant that she had more freedom than most women her age. Her daughter Francesca Eleonora (called Nora), was born in 1571 and eventually married her cousin Alessandro Sforza. Her son Virginio was born in 1572 and eventually inherited his father's dukedom.

Isabella allegedly had a free-spirited personality which created rumours with regard to the nature of her relationship with Troilo Orsini, Paolo Giordano's cousin, who was charged with looking after her while the Giordano was away tending to military duties. Paolo Giordano was eventually informed of Isabella's infidelity. Her powerful father having died, the duke had Isabella strangled in the Villa di Cerreto Guidi, near Florence, probably with the complicity of her brother Francesco, the new Grand Duke. Troilo was also killed in the same fashion in Paris a few months later.

According to tradition, Isabella's restless ghost appears periodically in some of the places where she lived, including the Odescalchi Castle on Lake Bracciano, near Rome.


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Isabella de' Medici, principessa di Toscana's Timeline

August 31, 1542
Firenze, Firenze, Italy
Age 15
September 1572
Age 30
July 16, 1576
Age 33
Villa di Cerreto Guidi, Firenze, Italy