Season 2, episode 1, just 10 minutes: that is all it took me to understand that I will be jumping on my chair for the rest of the series (IF, and it's a big if, I will decide to watch it).
After the nice theme song by Skin and captivating graphics with melting gold, we are immediately immersed in the troubled city of Florence in the day the Pazzi family conjured to kill Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici.
I am going to be indulgent about the very disputable choice of swords and about the poor attempt to replicate a XVth century brigandine, but when the scene changes and we are brought back in time in 1469, we find Lorenzo, Poliziano and Sandro (Botticelli) chatting and drinking good wine in the chambers of a countryside Villa.
The scene was set in Villa d'Este in Tivoli, which is enriched by beautiful "grottesche" frescoes.
Unluckily for them, the wonderful building was finished in 1572 (!). And anyway, the so-called "grottesca" style started after 1480 when the Neronian palace was found in Rome.
I know, it takes a lot of experience to recognize the building where a scene is taken (i.e many people would not even think of it), but the style of the room is definitely NOT from the XVth century, and even if I know that it is difficoult to find a fully fifteenth century palace, I cannot avoid thinking that the scene gives the wrong idea of the state of art at that time.
But let's proceed, that is definitely not the worst I could point out.
The Medici family leaves the building (with late renaissance carriages...but again let's not be too pedantic) and they are attacked by some archers sent to kill them.
While they fight, two things immediately hit my eye: all the men wear TROUSERS. Not high hoses, not connected hoses (which however were not yet in use, they would have started spreading in a few years) but regular trousers!!!
And the archer? Well, in the best tradition of Errol Flynn's Robin Hood he has the quiver on his back!!!
The Medici guys manage to kill their would-be-killers, and reach Florence. At this point what I had feared till that moment really happened: the image we see of the city is dominated by Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence's dome, but it has the appearance we can see nowadays. Is it a problem? OF COURSE!!!
Because the city's main church remained unfinished until the end of 19th century, when the facade was completed in 1887.
Maybe that is not such a famous information, but would you consider correct to show the Empire State Building in a movie set in New York in the Civil War period? Or to set a movie in New York in the 80s with the new Trade Center in sight? It is the same!
And it continues. It is minute 10.30 and the Medici family reaches its palace but...it is in Pienza!
Yes, the scene is set in the wonderful square of the little tuscan city, completely redisegned by Pope Pio II in 1460s. This time the church and the palace we see are correct for the period, but they are so famous that the mistake is clear.
By the way, I wonder why in full day there is always a fire burning here and there?
And let me add a little last detail: when the family enters in the inner court (I think it is the actual Piccolomini palace, in Pienza as well), in the middle of there is Donatello's sculpture representing David. It is a nice historical detail, since the statue was really in the Medici Palace in Florence...but it was fully gold-plated!
So, good but not very good...
Traces of the original gilt are still on the statue, in the Bargello Museum in Florence (If you don't believe me, it's on wikipedia!!!)
Not bad for only 10 minutes of the first episode!!!
P.S. All of what I said can be checked online!