Albizzi Family

   Wealthy mercantile family of Florence whose head, Maso degli Albizzi, led a junta of wealthy families who seized control of the city by force in 1382. This event reversed a period of democratizing political reform (1343-1382) and left a faction of rich families headed by Maso in charge. While their successes in defending the city from the aggressive Giangaleazzo Visconti of Milan and conquering the seaport city of Pisa made their domination tolerable, there was resentment at the way in which the Albizzi corrupted the republican constitution and put effective control into the hands of a junta.
   When Maso died in 1417, his son Rinaldo degli Albizzi (1370-1442) became the faction leader. Unlike his father, Rinaldo had an aloof manner and exerted his political power openly, stirring up resentment even among Albizzi partisans. Faced with political unrest generated by his failed attempt (1429-1433) to conquer the city of Lucca, Rinaldo decided to strike down the most popular potential leader of political opposition, Cosimo de'Medici, who had tried to avoid direct confrontation but had opposed the rash attempt to conquer Lucca. Rinaldo had Cosimo put on trial for treason before a special judicial commission (batía). Although the Albizzi dominated the batía, there were enough moderate members that the body decided to sentence Cosimo to exile rather than executing him.
   This arbitrary treatment of a popular and respected citizen merely increased resentment. Just a year later, in 1434, a newly selected signoria reversed the sentence against Cosimo. Rinaldo attempted an armed coup, but the signaría had taken effective measures to prevent his seizure of power. Sympathizers with Cosimo now created a special court (batía) to reform the government. The recall of Cosimo was confirmed, and Rinaldo himself, together with his closest political supporters, was banished. Rinaldo's fall from power marks the beginning of 60 years (1434-1494) of almost unbroken Medici political dominance of the republic.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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