The founder and the architect
The Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo I (1519-1574), with extraordinary government skills, was also a refined art lover and a great patron. Among the various works promoted by him we remember the creation of the Uffizi, originally intended to house the offices of state and Palazzo Pitti, which became the official residence of the Medici.
He also completed the wonderful garden of Boboli, the park of the grand-ducal residence, and supported many artists, including Benvenuto Cellini, Giorgio Vasari, Agnolo Bronzino.
He also undertook extensive research into Etruscan artefacts in Chiusi, Arezzo and other cities. It was the Grand Duke himself, who went to the land of Romagna in 1554 and in 1558, to designate the place where the new city would rise. The foundation took place in 1564. The project was entrusted to the architect Baldassarre Lanci, a native of Urbino, at the service of the Grand Duke as an engineer of the fortresses.
Like many personalities of his time, he was a universal genius, besides designing six fortresses in Tuscany, Valletta in Malta was a civil, religious, botanist, plumbing engineer, painter and set designer. Terra del Sole or Heliopolis (the city of the sun) was his masterpiece.