- Family of wealthy Florentine patricians prominent in the cloth trade, politics, and cultural life during the 15th and early 16th centuries. Giovanni di Paolo (1403-1481) built the noted family palace and the new façade of the church of Santa Maria Novella, both designed by Leon Battista Alberti. Giovanni's family ties to the ex-iled Strozzi family left him out of favor with the dominant Medici family. His son, Bernardo di Giovanni (1448-1514), however, mar-ried into the Medici family and became a political adviser to Lorenzo de'Medici. He was a philosophical disciple of Marsilio Ficino and the author of several works written in Latin, including a history of the French invasion of Italy in 1494 and an antiquarian study of the city of Rome.After Lorenzo's death in 1492, Bernardo turned against Lorenzo's son and successor Piero de'Medici, who was expelled by a popular uprising in 1494. The new republican regime, however, was far too subject to influence from the lower classes to suit Bernardo. He with-drew from politics in 1502 and voluntarily left the city in 1506. He laid out the elegant family gardens in the city, the Orti Oricellari, which became famous both for their many exotic plants and for the intellectual discussions among Florentine politicians and scholars that began in his time and continued under the patronage of his son Cosimo Rucellai (1495-1519). The discussions in the garden often dealt with political questions and have attracted the attention of mod-ern scholars, especially because one of the participants was Niccolô Machiavelli.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.