Historical story

The Giraffe by Lorenzo the Magnificent

Last updated:2022-11-07

Portrait of Lorenzo the Magnificent

That of the giraffe is one of the most folkloric episodes linked to the Medici family ( I mentioned it here https://www.pilloledistoria.it/8312/storia-moderna/gli-strani-animali-da-compagnia-di-alcuni-personaggi-storici).

The animal was brought as a gift to Florence by the Sultan of Egypt Mohamed ibn Mahfuz in 1487, causing curiosity and amazement among the citizens.

Among his many virtues, Lorenzo the Magnificent it could also boast a strong environmental awareness and an innate love for animals, therefore it is not surprising the concern he immediately showed to guarantee the beautiful specimen, at the time called camelopard, well-being and longevity ( see https://www.pilloledistoria.it/9148/storia-moderna/lanimo-ambientalista-lorenzo-magnifico).

For this purpose, the great patron had special stables built on his estate in Poggio a Caiano, but despite the assiduous and loving care, the giraffe died after a short time.

A period long enough to remain in history even assuming legendary connotations, also thanks to Art:the exotic animal was portrayed in several paintings and frescoes in which we can still admire it today ( to find out more https://curiositasufirenze.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/dipinti-sulla-giraffa-di-lorenzo-il-magnifico/).