Risascimento is the Italian word for the Renaissance, The Rebirth, of both Florence, Italy and Europe. The seeds of it were scattered in its soil with information from the Arabs and the Middle-East, it is thanks to them and their good keeping of ancient records why this whole period of history took place, for when the Islamic Golden Age ended in the 14th century, a new age began in Italy. With sharp minds and good business skills the Medici rose from nothing to the most important family of bankers, patrons of the arts, politicians and even men of the Catholic church is truly an intriguing story.
Now, honestly I began to watch this documentary again because of a history of economics class that I had the next day. I wanted to refresh my memory of the renaissance and because the Medici were one of the most powerful bankers of the Late Medieval to the end of the Renaissance, we are going to probably be going through that time period next class, and you know, I want to raise my hand and provide some answers if certain topics pop up. And really I remembered this was a good documentary series, but when I started watching then I was reminded how much better it was then I remembered!
We go through the whole history of the Medici family in this 4-part documentary series narrated by Massimo Marinoni. It is truly a beautiful series with atmosphere, ACCURATE COSTUMES (done by Jason Gill, no less), fantastic casting and various historians giving their take on the family and history.
Alright, first I’ll tackle the atmosphere. It is dark, but not in a menacing way, in a way that says THIS IS RENAISSANCE ITALY! Lute music plays, songs in Latin to grant grandness, while a song in Italian adds to the beauty of scenes. Filmed in Tuscany, the real place just adds to the atmosphere and reality of what we are seeing. The creators, directed by Justin Hardy and written by Susan Horth, really put all their hearts in to this series and it shows. Everything has an added extra feeling of care put in it, when they really didn’t need to, but did so still. The way scenes from art (especially my favourite artist Botticelli, who is played by some cute, delicately chisel faced actor who name I can’t find anywhere) taken from La Primavera and The Birth of Venus are recreated in a real way in which he most likely might have gotten his inspiration from are truly beautifully put together. Now this series was made in 2004 and for it to have this level of quality is no short of a miracle.
Now, the actors! And when I say this is fantastically cast I mean it! The people look like the paintings of them and the silent acting done is very effective. No actor is too handsome to be distracting from the story, they all treat their costumes as clothes and act really, really, really well, and that is why you remember them. Among those notable actors in it are Peter Guinness as Galileo (you’ve seen him or heard him, guaranteed) and Pip Torrens as Cosimo de’Medici (he is many period dramas. you’ve seen him).
So if you are interested in the Renaissance, have a test coming up, or want an actually good documentary series that takes maybe an afternoon to watch. But I warn you, once you start watching you will want to keep going. For like the Medici, they will draw you in and you’ll be hooked in to their world for the next 4 hours.
The whole series can as of now be found on YouTube; First part here!
Or if you prefer to not see this wonderful documentary series then here is the PBS website for it! It has all information, but none of the atmosphere or drama of the series…so basically what one would write about these historic people in class, but good to have a summary in handy just in case and it gives some extra info as well, which is always good!
Grazie! Prego! Buona Giornata!