Strozzi, Alessandra (1406–1469)

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Strozzi, Alessandra (1406–1469)

Influential Florentine. Name variations: Alessandra Macinghi; Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi. Born Alessandra Macinghi in 1406 in Florence; died in 1469 in Florence; married Matteo di Simone Strozzi, in 1422 (died 1436); children: four surviving sons.

Alessandra Strozzi was an Italian woman of the upper merchant class. Her family, the Macinghis of Florence, were wealthy merchants who had recently established themselves as one of Florence's most important families. At 15, Alessandra married Matteo di Simone Strozzi, and thus entered another influential family. Matteo held important city government posts and as such was deeply involved in local politics. He and his family had gained the enmity of the Medici family, and when Cosimo de Medici came to power in 1434, Matteo was banished from Florence. Alessandra and their seven children followed him into exile. Two years later, he died; a pregnant Alessandra and her four surviving children returned to Florence.

She never remarried, but dedicated herself to the onerous task of re-establishing the honor and good name of the Strozzis. All of her sons were subject to banishment when they came of age (13) and had to leave their mother, who sent them to relatives in other prosperous Italian cities. But she continued to work for their eventual return to Florence, and spent much of her time writing letters to each son, giving advice and counsel and sending them clothing and other supplies. Her letters have survived, and they give a picture of an intelligent, caring mother who thought almost single-mindedly of her sons' welfare, and who deprived herself of luxuries to save money for them. Alessandra was also an entrepreneur; she managed the family's holdings carefully and made investments which were usually profitable. She arranged her children's marriages with great concern for the economic benefit the Strozzis could reap from them.

With her hard work and business acumen, her family eventually regained the fortune it had lost when Matteo was banished. After the death of Cosimo de Medici in 1464, Alessandra petitioned for a lifting of the ban of exile on her sons; two years later, she succeeded. Her family name stood restored to its previous honor and her sons were allowed to return to Florence. Alessandra Strozzi died at age 63.


Uitz, Erika. The Legend of Good Women: The Liberation of Women in Medieval Cities. Wakefield, RI: Moyer Bell, 1988.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California

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Strozzi, Alessandra (1406–1469)

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