The new secret box of our Leonardo Collection is inspired by the famous Medici family, central to the Florence of the Renaissance period.
In fact, on our puzzle appear elegant and refined inlays that could have to do with that historical and artistic period.
Florence, in honor of the Medici, has strewn its streets with the family crest: a shield with red balls on a golden field.
The curiosity lies in the fact that the shields are not exactly equal to each other ... the number of balls, in bisanti heraldry, can vary.
If at first, in fact, the spheres in the coat of arms were equal to eleven, Giovanni di Bicci brought it to nine, his son Cosimo to eight, and the latter's son, Piero il Gottoso, came to reduce it to seven. The last decrease occurred with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who brought the spheres to 6, with the top one loaded with the insignia of the Royals of France.
As to why, then, there are balls in the center of the Medici coat of arms, suppositions and hypotheses have been made far and wide. Some more likely, others less so.
Among the most accredited is that for which, in heraldry, the "balls" of a coat of arms usually represent the number of enemies killed in battle by those who took them as their own insignia. The Medici would therefore begin with some soldier who, in an important battle or campaign, for example during a Crusade, killed eleven enemies, or the number of balls that, as mentioned, was at the beginning on the coat of arms.
Another hypothesis, which is also very much accredited by historical sources, wants the Medici coat of arms to allude to the florid and fortunate banking activity carried out by the Medici. The balls would be nothing more than coins.
This hypothesis in particular would be supported by the similarity of the Medici coat of arms with that of the Arte del Cambio, a shield with a red background with gold bezanti.
The Medici, therefore, would have simply inverted the colors of the guild's coat of arms thanks to which it would have enriched itself.
It is interesting to remember how the presence of the multiple-cited "balls" of the coat of arms became the reason why the supporters of the Medici principality called their partisans to the cry of "Balls, balls", as we are told about the popular uprising against the Pazzi family. , offender of the famous conspiracy of 1478. The supporters of the Medici party were therefore called "palleschi", a definition that assumed particular importance in contrast to that of "whiners" given to the supporters of the theocracy established in Florence by friar Girolamo Savonarola.