This book explores how the Medici Grand Dukes pursued ways to expand their political, commercial, and cultural networks beyond Europe, cultivating complex relations with the Ottoman Empire and other Islamicate regions, and looking further east to India, China, and Japan.

The chapters in this volume discuss how casting a global, cross-cultural net was part and parcel of the Medicean political vision. Diplomatic gifts, items of commercial exchange, objects looted at war, maritime connections, and political plots were an inherent part of how the Medici projected their state on the global arena. The eleven chapters of this volume demonstrate that the mobility of objects, people, and knowledge that generated the global interactions analyzed here was not unidirectional—rather, it went both to and from Tuscany. In addition, by exploring evidence of objects produced in Tuscany for Asian markets,this book reveals hitherto neglected histories of how Western cultures projected themselves eastwards.

chapter 1|15 pages


Eurasian Tuscany, or the Fifth Element

part One|50 pages

Mediterranean Connections

chapter 2|14 pages

Making a New Prince

Tuscany, the Pasha of Aleppo, and the Dream of a New Levant

chapter 3|15 pages

“To the Victor Go the Spoils”

Christian Triumphalism, Cosimo I de’ Medici, and the Order of Santo Stefano in Pisa

part Two|52 pages


chapter 5|16 pages

Disembedding the Market

Commerce, Competition, and the Free Port of 1676

chapter 6|15 pages

Red Coral from Livorno to Hirado

British Early Trading Networks and Maritime Trajectories, c. 1570–1623

chapter 7|19 pages

Ginori Porcelain

Florentine Identity and Trade With the Levant

part Three|75 pages

Asian Interactions

chapter 8|25 pages

Of Rhinos, Peppercorns, and Saints

(Re)presenting India in Medici Florence

chapter 9|21 pages

Eurasian Networks of Pietre Dure

Francesco Paolsanti Indiano and His Early Seventeenth-Century Trade Between Florence and Goa

chapter 10|20 pages

The Fata Morgana of Cosimo III de’ Medici

Giovanni Gherardini and the Portraits of Kangxi

chapter 11|7 pages


Textual Threads and Starry Messengers: The Global Medici From the Archive to the Fondaco