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Giovanni de' Medici
File:220px-Gbnere pace 1.jpg
Biographical information

April 6, 1498


November 30, 1526

Political information

House of Medici
House of Sforza

Real-world information
Appears in

Assassin's Creed - Inheritance
A man, two stories

"Your father's name is the worst burden you can carry […] It's like if people believe in some twisted way you'll be like him, maybe even better."
―Giovanni to Marcello Auditore, January 1525.

Giovanni di Giovanni de' Medici (1498 - 1526), also known as Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (of the Black Bands) was a Florentine Assassin and condottiero in the early sixteenth century.

His father, Giovanni, was from the junior branch of theHouse of Medici, and his mother, Caterina Sforza, had been an important ally of the Assassin Order before her downfall.

As a Master Assassin, he trained young Marcello Auditore for two years and collaborated in the assassination of German Templar Georg von Frundsberg, though he was fatally wounded in the process.


Early life[]

Ludovico de'Medici was born on April 6th, 1498, in Forlì.

After his father's death in the same year, he was rechristened Giovanni by his mother.

He was almost two years old when he went with his mother to Monteriggioni, as she tried to get help from the Auditore family to defend Forlì from the Borgia. During the siege of Monteriggioni , he was saved by Claudia Auditore and taken to Firenze, where he was hidden in a nunnery until his mother's return.

Young Giovanni grew up listening to stories about Ezio Auditore , and started looking up at him as the father he had never had.

In 1509, at the age of 11, he witnessed his mother's death, and, despite he was given a home by the Florentine nobleman Jacopo Salviati, he kept trying to run away, ending up always caught by the city guards.

Introduction in the Assassin Order[]

In one of his failed escapes, he was stopped by Niccolò Machiavelli , who immediately recognized him and took him as an apprentice.

Giovanni was Machiavelli's understudy for about three years, in which he learned stealth and sometimes was tasked to drug guards at night to ease wanted Assassins' escape.

In 1513, when Niccolò was arrested, Giovanni was with him, and though he was spared for his family name, he attacked and killed a guard before being knocked out by another. This resulted in his arrest and exile.

His guardian sent him to Roma, where Giovanni familiarized with the local Assassin Guild and befriended Giovanni Borgia, met Claudia again and, at a point, started waiting for Ezio's return to be finally able to talk to him.

Eventually, Ezio returned with a pregnant Sofia Sartor, but Giovanni did not recognize him as he had expected to find him alone. When Borgia, at Ezio's departure for Tuscany, greeted Ezio calling him "Mentor", Giovanni wanted to go after him but decided to "look ahead" instead, and signed for the Papal Army.

As his guardian personally interfered with the Army leaders to prevent him being sent to war, Giovanni started acting with Borgia and an older Assassin, Filippo Falcone de Vigiliis, to eliminate targets in Roma. At a point, Filippo found out about a conspiracy of the Viceroy of Naples to infiltrate in Castel Sant'Angelo to kill the Pope, and was subsequently killed by Gaetano and Basilio Orsini, two fellow soldiers of Giovanni, allied with the Viceroy.

Giovanni and Borgia, being the former wounded, could do nothing but escape with Filippo's toddler son and abandon him when, to cross the Tiber river, they were forced to dive. As Giovanni had firmly opposed himself to leaving the small boy, he never forgave himself for letting Borgia make the decision, and after not even a month, along with Borgia and Ezio's nephew Enrico Donati, he ambushed and assassinated the two soldiers, this resulting in his role of Assassin being exposed to his guardian, who made him leave the city.

Back home[]

"Ezio: The Mentore now is Ludovico, as far as I know.

Giovanni: You still are, for me. "

―Ezio talking to Giovanni

In November 1516, at the age of 18, Giovanni finally returned to Florence. His first day in the city, he was approached by a man he mistaked for an old farmer with a red-haired toddler on his shoulders.

Not recognizing the man as Ezio Auditore, he almost insulted him, but quickly apologized when the former Assassin showed his true identity. Eventually, Ezio forgave him and gave him a broadsword.

Later, he saved the two sons of a musician from a street brawl. Recognizing the skill in both of them, he proposed them to join the Order. Both the boys, Benvenuto and Cecchino Cellini, respectively sixteen and fourteen years old, accepted, and Cecchino also spent a period in Giovanni's army. Their younger sister would join the Brotherhood in turn.

In the same month, Giovanni married Maria Salviati, his guardian's daughter. They had a son, Cosimo, in June 1519.

The Bande Nere[]

In the time he spent in the Papal Army, Giovanni personally trained his own company of soldiers. He based his tactics on speed, skirmishes and ambushes, basing some of his battle techniques on some variations the Brotherhood's assassination tactics.

During this period, he acted as a spy in the Imperial armies, locating three Templars leading the Imperial troops: Georg von Frundsberg, Charles de Lannoy and Charles de Bourbon-Montpensier.

On December the 1st, 1521, Pope Leo X, of the House of Medici, was poisoned and died. His death would have been soon avenged by Enrico Donati, who found and killed the poisoner.

Following the event, Giovanni changed his insignia from white and purple to black.

From that moment on, his company would have been called Bande Nere, the Black Bands.

The Apprentice and the Battle of Pavia[]

"Now, I’m warning you, this is not going to be a saunter at the Duomo. Are you sure you want to start now?"
―Giovanni testing Marcello Auditore's determination

Not even after three years, as the Bande Nere were besieging Pavia under the orders of the King of France, with whom the new Pope, Clement VII, another Medici clergyman, had allied against an Empire "on which Sun never set", more bad news arrived to the camp: Ezio Auditore had died.

Giovanni took a chance to see the Auditore family again when, in the first days of 1525, the Master of Rome summoned him for a report from the front, and met Flavia and Marcello at La Volpe Addormentata, now run by Giampiero, Enrico's older brother.

After a talk with ten-years-old Marcello, Giovanni decided to take him as an apprentice and took him to his camp near Pavia, in Northern Italy. Claudia, who did not approve this decision because of Giovanni's reckless behaviour, ordered another Assassin, Pietro del Buta, known as Pietro Aretino, to follow Giovanni and check on him. Eventually, Giovanni and Pietro would become good friends.

Despite a growing bond between him and Marcello, Giovanni was a strict teacher who did not hesitate to scold his understudy for poor results during training sessions.

In February 1525, Giovanni was hit by a harquebus bullet by a Spanish soldier, and because of this he could not lead the Bande Nere in the Battle of Pavia, thus resulting in their defeat at the hands of Georg von Frundsberg.

One of Giovanni's lieutenants, Richard of Suffolk, an ally of the Brotherhood, perished in the fight, and was eventually replaced by Lucantonio Cupano.

Journey to Venezia[]

"You have your predecessor on your conscience, Ludovico. Along with a Brother from the Orient and an ally. Never compromise the Brotherhood, the third tenet says. And it’s collapsed on you, as it seems"
―Giovanni to Ludovico Ariosto

In San Secondo, near Parma, where Giovanni was staying to recover from his wounds, he and Marcello were joined by Francesco Vecellio, on his way to his brother Tiziano's wedding in Venezia, Flavia Auditore, Sofia Sartor and Alessio Falcone, who were travelling along with him. They also were joined by Giovanni's wife and son some time later.

As soon as Giovanni could leave the bed, he immediately restarted training Marcello, and the group left in April for Venezia. Giovanni decided a detour to Ferrara to meet the Mentor, Ludovico Ariosto, and verbally attacked him in front of Marcello blaming him for a lack of communication between the Assassin guilds which had led to a Chinese Assassin killed in Venice, Chinese soldiers crossing Italy, and Georg Von Frundsberg being in Pavia when nobody knew he was actually there.

In May, after attending an Initiation ceremony for Benvenuto Cellini, Giovanni left with his apprentice and the soldiers who had come with him to Abano, where he stayed for some weeks before reentering the battlefield.

Betrayal at Mantova[]

"The Curtatone Gate. Someone opened it for the Germans and shut it in our faces. And I think they knew we would have come for Frundsberg, though they thought it would have been Giovanni."
―Marcello Auditore explaining some of the events prior to the battle of Governolo to other Assassins

In 1526, Giovanni and his soldiers besieged Milano along with the rest of the Papal Army, led by General Francesco Della Rovere. The siege failed, but Giovanni and his men did not retreat with the rest of the army, and paraded in front of the enemies before leaving, while Giovanni taunted the enemy leaders shouting "Who's driving us away?".

In November, the Bande Nere headed towards Mantova to stop a landsknecht invasion led by the Templar Georg Von Frundsberg - actually, a Templar plot to annihilate the Brotherhood covered by battles in Roma and Firenze.

During the pursuit of the German army, the Bande Nere were repeatedly hindered by someone who was revealed to be another Assassin on the evidence of a priest and of wounds left by a hidden blade on the corpses of Mantuan guards.

On November 25th, during a battle in which Frundsberg was hit with a poisoned bullet by Marcello, the landsknechts pulled out four falconets, of which the third hit Giovanni on his right leg. Despite he was taken back to the camp as fast as the soldiers could, no surgeon could be found there, and the very camp had been wrecked by the traitor, who had unsuccessfully tried to kidnap Marcello.


On November 26th, Giovanni was taken in a friend's palazzo in Mantova, where the surgeon who had already cured him after Pavia amputated his wounded leg.

Despite this, Giovanni contracted sepsis some hours after the surgery, and died in the night between 29th and 30th November, 1526, after giving his sword to his apprentice and leaving him a message hidden in his copy of the Secret Crusade book about the reason of the attempted kidnapping: the Apple hidden under Santa Maria Aracoeli.


"History gave us the image of a merciless man, but most of the information we have about him has been faked by Templars first, and by fascists then, though it's always of the same kind of people we're talking about, so there's not too much of a difference"
Shaun Hastings

Despite his death caused the failure to completely stop the Landsknechts army, Giovanni's plans allowed the Brotherhood to get rid of one of the most powerful Templars of that period, General Frundsberg.

Because of his involvement with the Assassins, his wife and son sheltered the Florentine Assassins and their families in the family villa for a while in 1527, as a defence measure against the remaining Templar leaders. Despite this did not prevent Flavia Auditore's kidnapping, it protected many of the youngest Apprentices and families.

In 1527, Marcello tried to bring him back to life using the Philosopher's Stone, however, he was dissuaded by Laura Spada, the girl he would have married years later.

Giovanni's son, Cosimo, served in the Brotherhood from 1527 to 1538.

His descendants appeared in many European royal lines, up to Lady Diana and her children William and Harry. Giovanni's only apprentice, Marcello, was first taken by Machiavelli and then, at the latter's death, by Giovanni Borgia.

In 2013, Shaun Hastings showed to Desmond Miles some Animus recordings stolen from Abstergo, in which a fifteen-year-old Giovanni met Ezio, but decided not to go after him.

Personality and characteristics[]

"You can tell anything about Giovanni, but not that he won’t keep a promise"
―A young female Apprentice to Flavia Auditore

Taking a lot after his mother, Giovanni was a fierce and strict man, sometimes also defined cruel by his enemies. He was known to shout and swear even at people he was fond of, and at a point, according to rumors circulating among the youngest acolytes of the Brotherhood, he ordered a nurse who was standing on a balcony of his villa and holding his infant son to drop the baby from the balcony, reassuring her he would have caught him in midair. Despite this, he also was a caring person, especially with the people he had in charge, and at a point he arrived to ask the Brotherhood for money to pay his soldiers when the Pope stopped sending wages, or to start mocking Marcello to cheer him up. He also had a close friendship with the poet and fellow Assassin Pietro Aretino, a few years older than him, despite they constantly fought over Giovanni's responsibility over Marcello, on whom Pietro was supposed to keep watch on Claudia Auditore's orders.

In his late childhood and adolescence, he was costantly haunted by the memory of his mother, hopeless and powerless after her imprisonment in Castel Sant'Angelo, this resulting in his fear of helplessness, a fear he would have carried for all of his life.

Equipment and skills[]

During the first part of his apprenticeship, Giovanni had a short dagger and a simple hidden blade. In 1516, he was given a broadsword by Ezio Auditore, and later he would receive another hidden blade and a hidden gun. He also had an armor with the Medici insignia on it, which he used in open field battles. The armor was broken in Governolo by the same cannon shot that severely wounded his leg. He also had been given by Ezio the armor of Altair, though he kept it in a secret armory in his family villa and never used it.

In his early years, Giovanni's skills, especially stealth and freerunning, were visibly poor, making his attempts to run away from home a failure.

After some basic training by Machiavelli, however, he was good enough to climb buildings like the ancient aqueducts, though with a certain difficulty. He no longer pushed forward his freerunning and climbing skills, as he would not have had use for them in his later life, but he was skilled enough to perform a Leap of Faith.

Since adolescence, he was a skilled fighter, and could easily beat men bigger than him. He also was an outstanding swordfighter and was able to use bombs.


It was once hypothesized by General Della Rovere that Giovanni might have been conceived out of wedlock, though he immediately ate his words. Ironically, Giovanni's two best friends Giovanni Borgia and Pietro del Buta were both born out of wedlock.