Queer Places:
Piazza Ognissanti, 2/r, 50123 Firenze FI
Il Palazzo del Bo, Via 8 Febbraio 1848, 2, 35122 Padua PD
Cathedral of Saint Julian, Piazza S. Vincenzo Maria Strambi, 3, 62100 Macerata MC

File:Bronzino - Portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi.jpg - WikipediaLorenzo Lenzi (October 23, 1517 - November 26, 1571) was romantically connected to Benedetto Varchi. Varchi moved to Padua in 1537, having followed his beloved Lorenzo Lenzi, who had moved there to study law at the University. Here Varchi enrolled at the Accademia degli Infiammati, of which Sperone Speroni was also rector.

Lorenzo Lenzi was born in Florence on Oct. 23. 1516, by Antonio di Piero and Costanza di Taddeo Gaddi, sister of Monsignor Giovanni and cardinal Niccolò Gaddi. His brothers were Alessandro, born on 22 Oct. 1523, and Antonio, born on May 26, 1529.

The Lenzi family had a not secondary role in Florentine public life since the communal period. For twenty-three mandates, between 1480 and 1530, a Lenzi was one of the three major ones. The social rise of the family in the second half of the fifteenth century led to the construction of the Lenzi palace, in the current piazza Ognissanti. Francesco Lenzi, uncle of Lorenzo, was a member of the Otto di guardia e di balia in 1529; his father Antonio was "proposed" by the Signoria in 1528 and had proud republican sentiments; this attitude which after the advent of the Medici principality would translate into Lorenzo - in harmony with the political opportunism of Cardinal Niccolò Gaddi - in the link with Florentine outlawism.

To his maternal uncles Giovanni and Niccolò Gaddi, both permanently settled in the Roman Curia, the first as dean of the clerics of the Chamber, the second in the College of Cardinals, Lorenzo was indebted for his training. Giovanni, who animated a circle of writers and artists in Rome (including L. Martelli, Benedetto Varchi, P. Aretino, B. Cellini, I. Sansovino) and invested substantial funds in the purchase of books and to finance editions of classics and moderns, provided for the early education of Lorenzo, entrusting him, around 1525, to the care of Annibale Caro, who from 1529 would move to Rome as secretary of the prelate. The Family Letters of Caro are among the most important sources for the biography of Lorenzo and attest to the continuing relationship between the two throughout their life. Lorenzo had a closer and equally lasting bond with Varchi. The first meeting between the two, celebrated by Varchi in a sonnet, takes place at the end of August 1527, when Lorenzo, eleven years old, was with Caro and his younger brother - probably Alessandro - near Bivigliano, in the villa of Ugo Della Stufa, to escape the plague. Finding also Varchi nearby, he was able to meet and attend Caro and his very young disciple in that stay.

Ritratto del vice legato Lorenzo Lenzi

There is a singular pictorial testimony of Varchi's infatuation with the child in the Portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi, executed by the young Agnolo Bronzino no later than 1528 (now in Milan, at the Civic Collections of Art of the Castello Sforzesco). In the famous painting, Lorenzo is immortalized with an open book, which presents two compositions facing each other: the sonnet XCVI of the Petrarchian Canzoniere and a sonnet by Varchi, dedicated to the same Lorenzo, both hinged on the celebration of the virtues of the loved one through the symbolism of the laurel, to which even the name of Lorenzo refers. Varchi dedicated a good part of his first songbook to him, sublimating the passion he had for him through Petrarchian and Dante's stereotypes.

Lorenzo lost his father at the beginning of 1529 and was entrusted together with his brothers to the protection of his paternal uncle Francesco. Lorenzo himself attests in one of his Latin poems that Varchi was like a father to him. Between 1531 and 1532 Lorenzo left Florence to go to Bologna, where he undertook the study of law, living on a monthly pension of 5 scudi, given by Monsignor Giovanni Gaddi. For the entire period of formation of the Lorenzo, Caro worked together with Varchi as mediator in the relationship between the young man and his protectors Gaddi, above all in order to consolidate their position through the achievement of benefits from Cardinal Niccolò. Caro's correspondence bears witness to this, especially the letters relating to Lorenzo's subsequent stay in Padua, which began no later than the summer of 1535. From a letter from Lorenzo to Varchi, it seems that Lorenzo procured books from Venice for Varchi, and from three letters from Bembo to Varchi and Cellini, a certain familiarity of the young man with the Venetian humanist is evident, as an intermediary in his relations with his Florentine friends.

In the summer of 1536 the Lorenzo aroused the indignation of his uncle cardinal for unspecified debauchery and for having contracted debts, but after a few months the accident settled down, thanks also to the intercession of Caro and Varchi. The latter in 1537, after the rout of Montemurlo, followed Piero Strozzi into exile in Veneto, as tutor of his younger brothers, thus reuniting with his friend Lorenzo and the other young Florentines who attended their studies in Padua, including Taddeo Gaddi, cousin and cohabitant of Lorenzo, Alberto Del Bene, Ugolino Martelli and Puccio Ugolini. Lorenzo was an active member of the Law University and participated together with Varchi at the Accademia degli Infiammati, of which he was treasurer and sporadically reader. During this period, Lorenzo found himself involved in student disputes that resulted in "a 'very important question of arms, in which they were very wounded", so that, for prudential reasons, he again moved, together with Varchi, Alberto Del Bene, Carlo Strozzi and Ugolino Martelli, to Bologna, where the following year he obtained his degree in utroque. Finally, on 5 Dec. 1544, to crown the efforts of his friends, Lorenzo was appointed bishop of Fermo by designation of Cardinal Niccolò, who nevertheless retained the administration of goods and income, as well as the jurisdiction of the episcopal court.

After the return of Varchi to Florence, we know little of the events of Lorenzo, and it is Varchi himself who in another elegy of his places in immediate succession to the degree the departure, "by order of the maternal uncle", for the court of France together with the son of the poet Luigi Alamanni, Battista. But Lestouquoy speculates that the departure for France took place on April 4. 1547, following the legacy Girolamo Capodiferro. Before this date, Lorenzo was probably also in Florence: in fact we know from a letter from Varchi to Aretino that, together with Cellini and Bronzino, he was ousted from the Florentine Academy following the reform of 1546. Between 1548 and 1549 he alternated stays in Rome and Fermo, as we learn from the letters of GB Busini: it is probably a period of inactivity, if it is true that during Lent of 1549 "he goes every day to the stazzoni with his cardinal, who does not know what else to do". In 1554 he was appointed governor of Orvieto, where he was joined by Varchi. From October of the following year he passed, as deputy delegate, to the government of Bologna, where he was also followed by Varchi, to whom he gave a subsidy on the occasion.

In the religious and political turn following the elevation to the papal throne of Paul IV, Lorenzo entered the political orbit of cardinal nephew Carlo Carafa, holder of the legation of Bologna, who in his initial anti-imperial aims relied on the environment of the Florentine exiles and Neapolitans. Lorenzo played a significant role in the pressure exerted on the Duke of Ferrara Ercole II d'Este to assure the Inquisition leading exponents of the Modenese culture suspects of heresy, including Ludovico Castelvetro. The investigation was probably triggered by the bitter controversy that arose between Castelvetro and Caro, which resulted in the indictment and death sentence in absentia of Castelvetro by the court of Bologna for the murder of a partisan of Caro, the humanist Alberico Longo. The synchrony between thedatum (1 October) of the short of Paul IV that urged Hercules II to hand over the Modenese suspects in the hands of the vice-delegate of Bologna, and the arrival of Lorenzo in the city in the very first days of the same month (the appointment was on 11 September ). The grandiloquent portrait of Lorenzo, executed according to Raphaelesque modules, by the Tuscan Francesco Del Brina (now in Bologna, Collection of the Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna) dates back to the period of the vice-delegation.

Lorenzo's stay in Bologna lasted at least until January 1557 (from 26 June 1556 as "prolegatus"). After this date he was engaged as general commissioner of the papal militias alongside the Duke Francesco di Guisa to counter the advance of the viceroy of Naples, the Duke of Alba Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, towards Rome, probably by the will of Carlo Carafa, who organized personally defending the city. In September of the same year, after the defeat of San Quentin and the reorientation of the policy of Cardinal Carafa, now inclined to an advantageous negotiation with the king of Spain Philip II, he was appointed to the nunciature at the court of France.

The favor of the Carafa family, his distant kinship, through the Gaddi, with the Queen of France Caterina de' Medici and his links with illustrious Florentine exiles, including the Strozzi and Gondi, probably constituted the contributing causes of the prestigious assignment.

Lorenzo was in France from mid-October 1557 to October 1559, when, after the death of King Henry II in the previous July, he returned for a short time to Rome, perhaps called by the new Pope Pius IV. Immediately left for France (on 1st January 1560 he was already in Lyon), he remained there until September 1560, despite the appointment of his successor, Sebastiano Gualtieri, which took place on the previous 24th April. Arrived in Rome around the 24th Sept. 1560, he was again sent to the French court in December, after the death of King Francis II, to present the Pope's condolences to the Queen Mother and to support Gualtieri's action. Lorenzo remained at the court of Caterina de' Medici until the moment of his appointment, on 7 February, 1562, deputy delegate of Avignon, where he moved the following month.

The first phase of the nunciature involved Lorenzo almost exclusively in the resolution of a delicate diplomatic case: the release of the pope's two nephews, Diomede and Pietro Carafa, who, held at the court as hostages in order to discourage any attempt by the Papacy with Philip II, they were able to leave only in January 1558. For the rest - according to the correspondence published by Lestouquoy - L. played a negligible role in favoring the negotiations that led to the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, and his attention to questions religious, in the face of the constant expansion of Calvinism in France, was very limited in this period.

The stay in Paris during the pontificate of Pius IV, between March and September 1560, was characterized by the sending of notices to Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, concerning the events he was direct witness to, which were a prelude to the outbreak of the war of religion: the executions, the Amboise conspiracy, the intentions and convictions of the Cardinal of Lorraine Carlo di Guisa. In this period the Lorenzo was the object of poisonous judgments by the Tuscan ambassador Niccolò Tornabuoni, who invited Duke Cosimo I to urge his removal as an accomplice and agitator of the Florentine exiles; however, Tornabuoni's attitude changed radically a few months later, probably on the recommendation of Cosimo I himself.

The activity of the Lorenzo following the death of Francesco II, between January 1561 and February of the following year, is less known: it is very likely its role in the attempt to keep the regent Caterina de' Medici from subordinating the defense of the faith in state security. Instead, it is attested the commitment of Lorenzo to induce Maria Stuart, the Queen of Scotland then still in France, to send the Scottish bishops to the Council of Trent, and Catherine herself to exert pressure on the governor of Saluzzo to prevent the expatriation of the heretics persecuted by the Duke of Savoy Emanuele Filiberto.

On 16 apr. 1562 L., as deputy delegate and general commissioner, arrived in Avignon, which at that moment, with the outbreak of the first religious war in the Venassino county, was seriously threatened by the advance of the Huguenots. Appointed to the prestigious post by the will of the legate of Avignon Alessandro Farnese, Lorenzo organized the defense of the city and the expeditions against the rioters together with the cousin of Pope Francesco Fabrizio Serbelloni, governor general of the Contado and commander in chief of the militias. In October 1563, after having obtained - at the request of C. Borromeo and A. Farnese - from the plenipotentiary of the king, Honorat de Savoie count of Sommerive, the handover of the leader of the insurgents, the president of the parliament of Orange J. Perrin Parpaille, he had his death sentence carried out in Avignon.

The exploits of Lorenzo and the victories of the Catholic militias were emphatically exalted by Varchi in the then unpublished Sonnets against the Huguenots, composed during the summer of 1562. A non-stereotyped image of Lorenzo in this Avignon period is on the other hand, he draws from the letters of Marco Tullio Garganello to A. Farnese.

After the ratification of the peace of Amboise, Lorenzo remained in Avignon probably until 5 February, 1566. In December 1565 Varchi had died, who had appointed him executor and heir of part of his library and of all the papers. Perhaps due to his absence, Lorenzo never acquired the legacy and was replaced in the conservation of the papers by VM Borghini.

The last assignment of Lorenzo was as general commissioner of the papal auxiliary body, headed by Count Ascanio Sforza di Santa Fiora, which Pope Pius V in March 1569 decided to send beyond the Alps to support the army of the most Christian king.

According to the instructions received, Lorenzo should have prevented, together with the nuncio, any agreement and pacification deemed unworthy. Although the long journey was disastrous for the papal and Tuscan militias, the auxiliary body made a decisive contribution to the victory of Moncontour of 3 October; the peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1570), however, was precisely of the kind feared and deprecated by the pope.

Appointed governor of the March in 1570, Lorenzo spent the last period of his life between Macerata and Fermo, of which he was still bishop. He died in Macerata on November 26, 1571.


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