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Renaissance Florence burned the belongings of the Medici family. Will there be any such bonfire for the one-time poster boys of Ireland's boom, asks Jennifer O'Connell.

11th March, 2012
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'Maybe it's time we thought about having our own bonfire of the vanities'.

During the 15th century, an unusually flamboyant and generous family of bankers, entrepreneurs and politicians called the Medici ruled Florence.

The boys made most of their money in banking - in fact, some experts believe we have inherited many of our modern accounting systems from them.

But that's not all we have to thank them for. They were also generous patrons, bestowing their largesse on a select group of artists - including Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo...

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