Ferdinando II De Medici
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Ferdinando II De Medici
Ferdinando II
Portrait Ferdinando II de Medici.jpg
Ferdinando II de' Medici in Coronation Robes (circle of Justus Sustermans).
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Predecessor Cosimo II
Successor Cosimo III
Born 14 July 1610
Pitti Palace, Florence
Died 23 May 1670 (aged 59)
Pitti Palace, Florence
Consort Vittoria della Rovere
Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Francesco Maria, Duke of Rovere
Full name
Ferdinando de' Medici
House House of Medici
Father Cosimo II de' Medici
Mother Maria Maddalena of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ferdinando II de' Medici (14 July 1610 - 23 May 1670) was grand duke of Tuscany from 1621 to 1670. He was the eldest son of Cosimo II de' Medici and Maria Maddalena of Austria. His 49-year rule was punctuated by the beginning of Tuscany's long economic decline.[1] He married Vittoria della Rovere, a first cousin, with whom he had two children: Cosimo III de' Medici, his eventual successor, and Francesco Maria de' Medici, Duke of Rovere and Montefeltro, a cardinal.


Ferdinando was the eldest son of Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Maria Maddalena of Austria. Cosimo II died when Ferdinando was 10; because he had not yet reached maturity, his mother and paternal grandmother, Christina of Lorraine, acted as joint regents.[2] In his seventeenth year, Ferdinando embarked on a tour of Europe. One year later, his regency ended and his personal rule began.[3] Dowager Grand Duchess Christina was the power behind the throne until her death in 1636.

Ferdinand, like Christina before him, was a patron, ally, and friend of Galileo. Galileo dedicated his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems to him. This work led to Galileo's second set of hearings before the Inquisition. Ferdinand attempted to keep Rome's concerns from leading to a full-fledged hearing and kept Galileo in Florence until December 1632, when the Roman Inquisitors finally threatened to bring Galileo to Rome in chains if he would not come voluntarily. In June 1633 the Roman Inquisition convicted the astronomer for "vehement suspicion of heresy" and sentenced him to imprisonment for life; after this was commuted to house arrest, the devoutly Catholic Ferdinand welcomed Galileo back to Florence.[]

The first calamity of Ferdinando's reign was in 1630, when a plague swept through Florence and took 10% of the population with it.[4] Unlike the Tuscan nobility, Ferdinando and his brothers stayed in the city to try to ameliorate the general suffering.[5] His mother and grandmother arranged a marriage with Vittoria della Rovere, a granddaughter of the last Duke of Urbino, in 1633. Together they had two children: Cosimo, in 1642, and Francesco Maria de' Medici, in 1660. The latter was the fruit of a brief reconciliation, as after the birth of Cosimo, the two became estranged; Vittoria caught Ferdinando in bed with a page, Count Bruto della Molera.[6]

A 1627 plaque on Istituto San Salvatore in Florence with an inscription in the name of Ferdinando II and his mother Maria Magdalena

Grand Duke Ferdinando was obsessed with new technology, and had several hygrometers, barometers, thermometers, and telescopes installed in the Pitti.[7] In 1654, influenced by Galileo, he is reported to have invented the sealed-glass thermometer, by sealing the glass tip of a tube filled to a certain height with colored alcohol. Small glass bubbles filled with air at varying pressures hovered trapped within the liquid, changing positions as the temperature rose or fell. Marked off with 360 divisions, like the gradations or "degrees" of a circle, this type of device was called a "spirit thermometer", because it was filled with "spirit of wine" (distilled alcohol) or a "Florentine thermometer" (Florence being the capital of Tuscany).[8] In 1657, Leopoldo de' Medici, the Grand Duke's youngest brother, established the Accademia del Cimento. It was set up to attract scientists from all over Tuscany to Florence for mutual study.[9]

Tuscany participated in the Wars of Castro (the last time Medicean Tuscany was involved in a conflict) and inflicted a defeat on the forces of Urban VIII in 1643.[10] The treasury was so empty that when the Castro mercenaries were paid for the state could no longer afford to pay interest on government bonds. The interest rate was lowered by 0.75%.[11] The economy was so decrepit that barter trade became prevalent in rural market places.[10]

Ferdinando died on 23 May 1670 of apoplexy and dropsy. He was interred in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Medici's necropolis.[12] At the time of his death, the population of the grand duchy was 730,594 souls; the streets were lined with grass and the buildings on the verge of collapse in Pisa.[13]


From his unhappy marriage to Vittoria Della Rovere, Ferdinand II had four sons, from which, only two, reached adulthood :

  1. Cosimo, Grand-Prince of Toscany (19 December 1639 - 21 December 1639);
  2. Nameless son who died in infancy (1640)
  3. Cosimo III, (14 August 1642 - 31 October 1723) Grand Duke of Toscany following his father's dead, married to Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, with issue;
  4. Francesco Maria (12 November 1660 - 3 February 1711), Duke of Rovere and Montefeltro, married to Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga, without issue.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Styles of
Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Coat of arms of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.png
Reference style His Highness
Spoken style Your Highness
Alternative style Sir

Titles and styles

  • 14 July 1610 - 28 February 1621 His Highness The Grand Prince of Tuscany
  • 28 February 1621 - 23 May 1670 His Highness The Grand Duke of Tuscany


  1. ^ Strathern, p 381
  2. ^ Hale, p 178
  3. ^ Strathern, p 375
  4. ^ Hale, p 179
  5. ^ Acton, p 29
  6. ^ Acton, p 30
  7. ^ Acton, p 27
  8. ^ Bolton, Henry C. (1900). Evolution of the Thermometer, 1592-1743 (Ferdinand, pg. 33). Chemical Publishing Co.
  9. ^ Acton, p 38
  10. ^ a b Hale, p 180
  11. ^ Hale, p 181
  12. ^ Acton, p 108
  13. ^ Acton, p 112

See also


Further reading

External links

Media related to Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany at Wikimedia Commons

See also

Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Born: July 14 1610 Died: May 23 1670
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Cosimo II de' Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Succeeded by
Cosimo III de' Medici
Italian royalty
Preceded by
Cosimo di Ferdinando de' Medici
Hereditary Prince of Tuscany
Succeeded by
Cosimo di Ferdinando de' Medici

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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