Wealth and Renaissance Italy

One good thing about Renaissance Italy is that its produced some excellent examples of how to build wealth and power. One example of a family that rose from relative obscurity to dominate European politics was the Medici. Beginning in 1360, the Medici dynasty produced three popes, two queens of France and vast amounts of money.

Being a discriminating reader you’re likely to be wondering what some old expired Italians have to do with your personal situation. Good question.

There are three lessons that might apply to you.

1) Start a Business: The first Medici started a bank, which propelled the family into local and finally, international business and politics. Running and expanding a profitable business seems to be a key factor in becoming wealthy.

2) Marry Well: The Medici clan was strategic about marriage. The Medici would routinely marry members of the European ruling class including the French and Austrian monarchies. While most of us can’t marry members of the Bushs or Kennedys it certainly wouldn’t hurt to think strategically about this.

3) Network: Giovanni, the first Medici, supported the pope’s return to Rome in 1410. In return for supporting him, John the 13th gave Giovanni tax farming contracts and the right to mine Alum. Again, you probably don’t have the opportunity to meet the pope, but there are plenty of opportunities to get to know your city council or local ward representative.

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