Camilla Martelli

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Camilla Martelli

Birthplace: Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Death: May 30, 1590 (44-45)
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Antonio Martelli and Fiammetta Soderini, Patrizia di Firenze
Wife of Cosimo l de' Medici, grand duke of Tuscany
Mother of Virginia de'Medici
Sister of Maria Suarez de la Concha

Occupation: prima amante e poi moglie morganatica
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Camilla Martelli


Camilla Martelli, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici

Camilla Martelli (c. 1545 – 30 May 1590) was the first lover and then second wife of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de' Medici. [1] She was the mother of Virginia de' Medici, future Duchess of Modena.

[edit] Biography

Born into one of the most important families of the Florentine patricians, Camilla was the daughter of Anthony and Elizabeth Martelli Soderini. After the death of Cosimo's first wife Eleonora of Toledo and after the end of his relationship with Eleonora of Albizi, Camilla became Cosimo's lover despite being 26 years younger his junior. Camilla stood by him during his old age, when because of his poor health he retired to private life in the villa di Castello, abdicating in favor of his son Francesco I de' Medici.

Camilla had a daughter with Cosimo in 1568, Virginia, but she was always resented by the children from Cosimo's first marriage. Despite their opposition, Cosimo married Camilla in 1570, at the explicit order of Pope Pius V. However, the marriage was morganatic, and Camilla was not given the title "Grand Duchess." In response Francesco's complaints, Cosimo wrote, "I am a person and I have a wife in Florentine gentlewoman, and of good family," meaning that because he was no longer Grand Duke, he was free to choose his wife from any rank of society. Their daughter, Virginia, was legitimized and integrated into the line of succession.

Camilla was the main focus of bitter argument between Cosimo and his children in his old age. They did not agree with her appetite for ostentatious luxury, which appeared vulgar in comparison to the tasteful elegance of his late wife Eleonora of Toledo. The Grand Duke, not to arouse scandal, went into seclusion and prohibited parties and official celebrations.

In 1574 Cosimo I, who had suffered at least one stroke, had limited mobility and was unable to speak due to circulatory problems; he died on April 30. After his death, Camilla was forced to retire to the Florentine convent of Murate. She was later moved to the convent of Santa Monica. She was allowed to leave the convent only to attend the wedding of her daughter Virginia, on February 6, 1586, with Cesare d'Este, natural son of Alfonso d'Este. Eager to enjoy greater freedom after the death of Francesco I, she asked Ferdinand I de' Medici to let her leave the convent. He granted her wish, but after a series of political crises, he forced her to return to Santa Monica, where she died in 1590.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Martelli-de' Medici, Camilla. Medici Archive Project: People Details [1]

This page was last modified on 21 June 2010 at 16:15.

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Camilla Martelli's Timeline

Florence, Tuscany, Italy
May 29, 1568
Florence, Italy
May 30, 1590
Age 45
Florence, Tuscany, Italy