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Tommaso Portinari

Tommaso Portinari
General Description
Birthplace: Italy
Birthdate: 1424?
Species: Human
Gender: Male
Occupation: Medici Bank executive, oversees the London branch
Show Information
Portrayed by: Darren Clarke
First Appearance: The Blood of Brothers
Latest Appearance: The Sun and the Moon

Tommaso Portinari was one of the members of the Governing Board of the Medici Bank, in the capacity of manager of the London branch.

During the uprising of the Pazzi Conspiracy, on Easter Monday, 1478, Portinari and Francesco Sassetti, General Manager of the bank, come to the Palazzo Medici to warn Clarice Orsini that, in the event of Lorenzo de' Medici's death, the bank would lose the investors' confidence, leading to a multinational bank collapse. In Lorenzo's absence, they suggest one of them being named Interim Head of the bank to stabilize its reputation, but Clarice refuses it.

Portinari was shocked at the execution of Cardinal Orsini, one of the conspirators. He vocally expressed that the decision was unwise, and that Pope Sixtus's excommunication would mean trouble for the Medici Bank and for stability in the city. When Lorenzo de' Medici announces his decision to head to Naples to talk King Ferrante of Naples out of an alliance with Pope Sixtus IV against Florence, he leaves Clarice in charge of matters in Florence. Portinari scoffs at the prospect; Lorenzo threatens to feed him his "fat fingers, one by one" if he does not support her.

Shortly afterwards, when Lorenzo de' Medici heads to Naples, he withdrawals a vast sum from the bank's coffers. When Clarice wishes to withdraw funds to increase the palace's security staff, Sassetti refuses, and suspends their account until debts are reasonably repaid. When she threatens to fire him for his insolence, Portinari reminds her that a majority of the bank's board must approve executive hiring and firing.

Out of Clarice's favour, and considering an embarrasment having a woman heading the bank, Portinari and Sassetti formulate a plan to remove Clarice from the board and replace her with Carlo de' Medici. Portinari makes a back-room deal with King Ferdinand of Aragon, offering him favourable interest rates in exchange for him expressing his intention to default on his loans unless Clarice is removed as head of the bank. Carlo ostensibly sides with Portinari but when the Governing Board meets, he exposes Portinari, who is promptly charged by Clarice with malfeasance and treason and is thrown into the Bargello.

Behind the scenes[]

  • While Clarice Orsini describes Portinari as overseeing the London branch, he was actually the manager of the Bruges branch, in Flanders, which also controlled the London one.
  • Even though Francesco Sassetti and Tommaso Portinari are historically often figured in the ultimate decline of the Medici bank, their back-room deals and plans to take over the bank are fictionalised. Portinari was never arrested for treason and malfeasance; in his capacity of manager of the Bruges branch, Portinari lended excessive amounts to secular rulers, which would be a direct cause of the failure of the Bruges branch, which failed so spectacularly that the long-term viability of the Medici branch was damaged. His attempts to start his own bank failed, his past services to the Medicis and the Duchy of Burgundy were forgotten, and he died a pauper.