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Having ascended to the throne while still very young in 1537, the 18-year-old Cosimo de’ Medici (1519-1574) ably managed to free himself from Imperial dominance, creating a modern territorial and patrimonial state firmly controlled by the Medici dynasty. The conquest and annexation of the Republic of Siena, following the bloody war of 1554-59, and the Pope’s granting of the prestigious grand-ducal crown in 1569 definitively sanctioned its full political independence. This power was consolidated by wise management of the territory, with modernizing of the walls encircling the ducal cities, beginning with those of the capital, the creation of a formidable regional network of fortified strongholds, the construction of new ports and fortifications on the Mediterranean, such as Portoferraio, the Cosmopolis of Elba, and the founding ex novo of fortified cities, such as Terra del Sole-Eliopoli in Tuscan Romagna. To implement this ambitious political and economic program, Cosimo I surrounded himself with ‘new men’, possessing the technical, artistic, scientific, administrative, strategic and organizational capabilities suited to the new requisites.