The Medicis

Possibly the most well-documented example of a plutocratic turned aristocratic Italian family with beginnings in herbal medicine and eventually moneylending and banking. Medici is also the Italian word for ‘doctors’ and quite possibly some of their ancestors did do medicine themselves. They undoubtedly ruled the Italian and eventually European Renaissance, hitting a nadir in the 18th century.

They still have descendants but through only a select few extant lines with one of them merged with another banking family (Peruzzi). There’s probably another de Medici that’s still around but if he has daughters he may have ended his line by accident and that he never bothered to make his grandchildren add his surname to theirs.

While the Medicis and Italians in general didn’t invent banking, they did refine the practise of it which is still felt to this day.

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