The Italian noble family de' Medici (Mediceans) from Florence had its origins in merchants and bankers. Through skilful tactics and brutal intrigue, they rose from a wealthy but insignificant family to one of the most influential Italian dynasties of the 15th and 16th centuries. Under the Medici, Florence became the centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the most prosperous cities of the time. It is considered the cradle of the Renaissance. Inseparably linked to Tuscan history, the family promoted art, science and viticulture. The founder of the ruling dynasty is considered to be Lorenzo I (1449-1492), known as "El Magnifico" (the Magnificent). He led the city to its highest economic and cultural prosperity. From the beginning of the 16th century Tuscany was united and in 1569 under Cosimo III. (1642-1723) by Pope Pius V. (1504-1572) to the Grand Duchy.