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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tomb of Medici child mysteriously disappears

Discovery News has the story:

The tomb of a four-year-old heir of the Medicis has mysteriously disappeared, scientists exhuming the remains of several members of the family that dominated the Florentine Renaissance have announced.

Working in the Medici Chapels at Michelangelo's church of San Lorenzo in Florence, where they aim to exhume 49 bodies of the Medici clan, the researchers found the remains of an unknown one-year-old child in what was supposed to be the tomb of Filippino, the son of Grand Duke Francesco I (1541-1587).

The finding adds new mystery to one of the most discussed families of the Renaissance.

"We have no idea who that infant was, neither do we know where Filippino could have been buried," the researchers told a news conference.

Filippino, who died in 1582 of an unknown disease, was the son of Joan of Austria — the ugly daughter of Ferdinand of Habsburg — and Francesco I, an ineffectual ruler more interested in spending his time with alchemy experiments than dedicating himself to statecraft.


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