A dynasty of aristocratic Florentine merchants who rose to prominence in the thirteenth century, and who are remembered for their long-standing feud with the powerful Medici family. Palla Strozzi (1373–1462) was a patron of scholars of Florence and Padua, who founded the first public library in Florence. Under his leadership the Strozzi banking empire survived a financial crisis in the fourteenth century that left his own and the Medici dynasty as the most powerful business corporations in Italy. Filippo Strozzi the Elder (1428–1491) was an outspoken opponent of the Medici, who was banished from Florence by Cosimo de' Medici and established himself in Naples. After returning to Florence in 1466, he became an adviser to Lorenzo de' Medici and began construction of the Strozzi palace, which remains one of the most imposing mansions of his native city. Having gathered a vast fortune, he commissioned the artist Fra Filippo Lippi to decorate the church of Santa Maria Novella.
His son, who is known as Filippo II Strozzi the Younger (1489–1538), allied himself with the Medici through his marriage to Clarice de' Medici, the daughter of Piero de' Medici. He provided loans to the Medici but his own plans for political power brought him into conflict with the Medici and ultimately his banishment from the city. He led fellow exiles in an uprising against the Medici in 1527. The Republic of Florence was overthrown in 1530, but instead of allying with Alessandro de' Medici, the new dictator of the city, Filippo left for Venice. He organized a group of Florentine exiles who sought to reestablish the republic after the assassination of Alessandro de' Medici in 1537. The conflict ended in a battle at Montemurlo, where he was captured. Thrown into the prison of Fortezza da Basso, he was tortured and he died, either by murder or by suicide.
The sons of Filippo Strozzi distinguished themselves in the service of France. Leone Strozzi (1515–1554) joined the Knights of Malta and then the navy of France, where he rose to the rank of admiral. Leone's brother Piero Strozzi (1500–1558) joined the French army in its campaigns in Italy. For his service he was named a marshal of France in 1554. In 1557 he took part in the French siege of the port of Calais, then in the hands of the English. Their descendant Carlo Strozzi (1587–1671) was an author who wrote several noted books of Florentine history.
See Also: Florence; Medici, Cosimo de'; Medici, Lorenzo de'