Perhaps Cosimo I de’ Medici was right to be paranoid. After all, he only became the Duke of Florence after his predecessor was assassinated by a distant cousin. Then, after claiming the title, de’ Medici had to endure the petty manipulations of some of the most powerful men in Florence. Everyone was eager to use him for their own personal and political gain. And of course, members of the aristocracy were regularly the target of assassination by fellow noblemen vying for titles, wealth, and political clout. Suffice it to say, sixteenth-century Italy was a hornet’s nest of conspiracy, intrigue, and shifting alliances. So when de’ Medici purchased one of the most extravagant palaces in Europe, he required safe passage from his new home to government headquarters. To pass through the crowded city streets would be treacherous at best, not to mention common. He wanted to commute in style.