When the highly anticipated television series Medici: Masters of Florence debuted in Italy, it boasted seven million viewers, shattering both RAI and social media records. As modern political discourse swirled on the eve of the referendum vote, the Medici remained a venerated Camelot. In Florence’s piazza della Signoria, the piercing blue eyes of Richard Madden as Cosimo il Vecchio on a flashy billboard promoting the series was enough to make even the most seasoned Medici scholar a bit weak in the knees. The Medici of 15th-century Florence are historical rock stars. They leave a rich, complex record. At every turn they are intoxicatingly powerful and downright sexy, but this series is more soap opera than truth.