The two most famous families in Renaissance Italy were the Borgias and the Medici. One dominated from Rome while the other dominated from Florence. Upon Duke Cesare Borgia's return to Rome after rampaging with his troops through the Romagna, he adopted the motto of Julius Caesar, Aut Caesar Aut Nihil, 'Either Emperor or Nothing'. Lorenzo de'Medici on the other hand achieved his 'Emperor' status in Florence by more devious means: bribery, assassination, ballot rigging, political patronage and diplomacy. Despite living in these terrible times of poverty, war, plague and corruption, Florence produced writers, artists and thinkers of extraordinary brilliance and ingenuity. This latest book by Alan Phillips explores how it all happened.