The Dome and the Domicile
Set in the heart of Florence during the early 15th Century, Medici: Masters Of Florence is a beautifully shot, engrossing historical drama. Split across 8 episodes, the first season of this drama revolves around a growing conflict between Rinaldo Albizzi and Cosimo while depicting the rise of the Medici family. This conflict drives much of the narrative forward and this comes to a head late on during the show’s climactic finale.
After their Father is poisoned, the attention turns to his two brothers, Lorenzo and Cosimo. It’s at this point where the story begins, with Cosimo thrust into the role of succeeding his Father’s legacy. Finding himself at the helm of an empire, he aligns with his brother, juggling financial matters of the business with the government bodies at the Signaria. As tensions mount, an old rivalry between Rinaldo Albizzi and Cosimo surfaces and with it, all manner of drama. From a people’s revolt to an eventual exile, these two characters are really the pivot for much of the drama at play here.
Interwoven around this is the building of Florence’s cathedral and in particular the dome, which reflects the various stages of drama. From the conceptual design and early stages of building through to the vandalism and eventual resurging construction, these gorgeous establishing shots do a great job capturing the mood of each episode. On a more basic level, the actual name of each episode sheds light on the theme explored during the ensuing 50 minutes but for the most part, on-the-nose exposition is kept to a minimum.
During the early parts of the show, there’s a tendency to jump back and forth in time. These flashbacks are interesting and shed light on the brother’s overbearing Father, Giovanni. Having said that, their inclusion does make for quite the messy watch during the opening few episodes. It’s worth persevering with though and as the narrative connects back to a cohesive story, Medici really comes into its own. The final episode in particular does a great job wrapping up the drama while leaving things open for the second season. The eventual reveal to who killed Giovanni is quite the plot twist too and one that I certainly didn’t see coming. For that alone, it’s worth sticking around until the end of the final episode.
Visually, Medici is a really good looking show too. Whether it be the aforementioned shots of Florence or the well-lit rooms that capture the mood and tone perfectly, the art team have done a wonderful job bringing the fifteenth century to life. It’s worth mentioning as well that the costume and set design is equally as impressive too.
Although some of the character drama borders on melodramatic tones at times, there’s enough here to make for an enthralling and engaging watch nonetheless. The early bout of flashbacks can be a little disorientating and often offset the rhythm of the episodes but late on Medici: Masters Of Florence finds its groove and the show really comes into its own. Boasting some great acting and an impressive visual flair, Medici is well worth checking out, especially if you enjoy historical dramas.
Verdict - 8/10