- "The Pazzi were a potent and venerable family, reduced to rubble by one young Assassin."
- ―Rodrigo Borgia, reflecting on the collapse of the Pazzi family, 1485.[src]
The House of Pazzi was a familial group of Tuscan nobles who owned banks throughout the Italian city of Florence during the 15th century. Affiliated with the Templars, the Pazzi family became infamous for their failed attempt to gain control of the city through a conspiracy to murder its rulers, the House of Medici.
Plotting the Conspiracy
Less powerful rivals of the Medici, the Pazzi family, along with Rodrigo Borgia, the Grand Master of the Templar Order, planned a conspiracy to overthrow the Medici by killing the family's most prominent members, Lorenzo de' Medici and Giuliano de'Medici.
In 1476 Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, Lorenzo's close friend and a member of the Assassin Order, discovered the involvement of the Pazzi family in a conspiracy against the Medici. Moving to forestall this, Giovanni managed to have Francesco de' Pazzi put in jail. However, the plot had already reached members of the Medici government itself. Uberto Alberti, the Gonfaloniere of Justice, freed Francesco, and executed Giovanni for treason alongside his sons Federico and Petruccio, removing the Auditore family from Florence.
With Giovanni dead, there was no barrier between the Pazzi and control of Florence, until Ezio, Giovanni's only surviving son, decided to avenge his family's murder. Joining with his uncle Mario Auditore da Firenze and his mercenaries, Ezio infiltrated San Gimignano. There he witnessed a meeting between the Pazzi family and Rodrigo Borgia. During the ensuing battle between the mercenaries and Pazzi forces, Ezio killed his brash and aggressive rival Vieri de' Pazzi, the youngest of the Pazzi conspirators.
The Battle at the Duomo
In 1478, Ezio returned to Florence to spy on the Pazzi as they were meeting with other Templars in the catacombs under the Santa Maria Novella church. It was in this meeting that they planned the assassinations of both Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother Giuliano de' Medici. Among the conspirators were Stefano da Bagnone, Bernardo Baroncelli, Francesco Salviati, Antonio Maffei, Jacopo de' Pazzi and Francesco de' Pazzi. Rodrigo Borgia led the meeting and informed the conspirators that they had been given "spiritual" and military support from Pope Sixtus IV.
The next day, the conspirators executed their plan. They publicly attacked the Medici brothers in front of the Duomo with Francesco and Bernardo brutally stabbing Giuliano to death. At the same time, Stefano and Antonio severely wounded Lorenzo, but fled when he drew his sword. Francesco and others continued to attack Lorenzo, but withdrew when Ezio Auditore da Firenze intervened. Lorenzo was forced to retreat to his Palazzo, while Pazzi forces engaged Medici loyalists in earnest. As Ezio escorted Lorenzo back to his Palazzo, the latter loudly declared that Francesco de Pazzi would die and that his entire family would be erased.
Francesco gained control of the Palazzo della Signoria, but Medici forces continued to resist. Meanwhile, Ezio fought his way to the roof of the palazzo and confronted Francesco. Francesco fled immediately, but was pursued over the city's rooftops, hunted down, and killed by Ezio.
The Conspiracy's Failure
When Jacopo arrived at the Palazzo with the support of many Florentine citizens, it was far too late; Francesco's naked corpse had already been hung from the roof, causing the panicked Jacopo to flee the city on horseback. After their plot failed, the conspirators fled Florence to hide in the city of San Gimignano and in the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Despite this, Ezio hunted down and slew all of the conspirators. Jacopo went to plead his case to Rodrigo Borgia, meeting him covertly in an ancient Roman theatre, but was instead fatally wounded and used as bait to trap Ezio. Ezio fought his way out of the trap and ended Jacopo's suffering, and the Pazzi family with it. With its ruling family gone, San Gimignano was taken over by the Medici.
With the rule of the Medici, Lorenzo honored his promise and stripped the Pazzi family of everything, wiped their names from the tombstones, and threw them into prison, even those who played no part in the conspiracy.
|Andrea de' Pazzi|
|Jacopo de' Pazzi||Antonio de' Pazzi|
|Francesco de' Pazzi|
|Vieri de' Pazzi||Viola de' Pazzi|
- The term pazzi is a plural of Italian pazzo, which translates to either "crazy", "fool", or "madman" in English.
- Historically, the Pazzi family had members fight in the First Crusade during the Siege of Jerusalem, the first Christian soldier to climb over the walls of Jerusalem was Pazzino Pazzi, an ancestor of the 15th century family members.
- The Pazzi's personal guards were the only guards to patrol Florence until Sequence 4. However, Medici guards did not appear in Florence from 1476 until 1478 even though the Medici were in power.
- The Pazzi guards were recognizable by their black, red and gold clothes.
- Francesco de' Pazzi was the only non-Assassin to perform a Leap of Faith in Assassin's Creed II, and can be difficult to pursue due to his exceptional freerunning abilities.
- There was also an unnamed member of the Pazzi family, Francesco de' Pazzi's cousin, whom Ezio assassinated during a contract in Venice. It is unknown whether he was involved in the conspiracy or a member of the Templar Order. This man, however, is unclear if this is Renato de Pazzi, an actual Pazzi conspirator who was executed along with Jacopo and Francesco.
- The Pazzi's favored colors seems to be gray with white stripes, since Vieri, Jacopo, and Francesco as well as their supporters had this color scheme in their clothes.
- In Assassin's Creed: Renaissance it was stated that the Pazzi emblem was two dolphins on a blue background, as historically accurate, whereas in Assassin's Creed II, it is shown as two dolphins on a red background.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio briefly sung a song about Vieri and Francesco de' Pazzi's deaths while masquerading as a minstrel.
- Historically, in the 16th century the Pazzi owned the Villa di Maiano, the probable inspiration for the Villa Auditore.
- Historically, the Pazzi returned to Florence after Piero de' Medici was overthrown and supported Girolamo Savonarola's rule, only to be banished by the Medici again when they returned to power after the friar's execution.