Detail from portrait of Ferdinando I de’ Medici. Artist unknown.

Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (July 1549 – 17 February 1609) was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1587 to 1609, having succeeded his older brother Francesco I.

John Evelyn mentions the Duke and his properties during his visit to Radicofani on Thursday 3 November 1644.

When his brother Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany died in 1587, Ferdinando succeeded as Grand Duke at the age of 38.  In many ways, Ferdinando was the opposite of his brother who preceded him. Approachable and generous, he set out to rule mildly. He re-established the justice system and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of his subjects. During his reign, Tuscany revived and regained the independence his brother had given up.  Ferdinando fostered commerce and gained great wealth through the Medici banks, which were established in all the major cities of Europe. He enacted an edict of tolerance for Jews and heretics, and Livorno became a haven for Spanish Jews as well as other persecuted foreigners.

He established the Medici Oriental Press (Typographia Medicea), which published numerous books in the Arabic script.  He improved the harbor Cosimo I had built and diverted part of the flow of the Arno River into a canal called the Naviglio, which aided commerce between Florence and Pisa. He fostered an irrigation project in the Val di Chiana, which allowed the flatlands around Pisa and Fucecchio and in the Val di Nievole to be cultivated.


Father:  Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Mother: Eleanor of Toledo
Spouse:  Christina of Lorraine

Referring entries

Further reading


  • Wikipedia for background, portrait.