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Coat of Arms House of Pazzi image

Coat of Arms House of Pazzi

Origin of the name:
The Pazzi family were Tuscan nobles who were bankers in Florence in the 15th century. They are now best known for the “Pazzi conspiracy” to murder Lorenzo de’ Medici and Giuliano de’ Medici on 26 April 1478 (Lorenzo escaped). Andrea de’ Pazzi was also the patron for the chapter house for the Franciscan community at Florence’s Santa Croce church, often known as the Pazzi Chapel. After the conspiracy, the remaining Pazzi were rehabilitated and returned to Florence.

The family stemmed from Pazzo (“the madman”), one of the first soldiers over the walls in the Siege of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, who brought away with him and returned to Florence a stone from the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. A member of the Pazzi family was accorded the privilege of striking a light from this stone on Holy Saturday when all fires in the city were extinguished, from which the altar light of the Duomo would be annually rekindled, and from it all the hearth fires of Florence. The following day, Easter, a dove-shaped rocket would slide on a wire from above the high altar to an oxcart loaded with fireworks in the piazza. From the fireworks’ explosion (the scoppio del carro), sparks would be carried to the city’s hearths.

Less powerful and rivals of the Medici, the Pazzi were caught up in a conspiracy to replace the Medici as rulers of Florence.

The Conspiracy:
The Pazzi family were not the only instigators – the Salviati, Papal bankers in Florence, were at the center of the conspiracy. Pope Sixtus IV was an enemy of the Medici. He had purchased from Milan the lordship of Imola, a stronghold on the border between Papal and Tuscan territory that Lorenzo de’ Medici wanted for Florence. The purchase was financed by the Pazzi bank, even though Francesco dei Pazzi had promised Lorenzo they would not aid the Pope. As a reward, Sixtus IV granted the Pazzi monopoly at the alum mines at Tolfa — alum being an essential mordant in dyeing in the textile trade that was central to the Florentine economy — and he assigned to the Pazzi bank lucrative rights to manage Papal revenues. Sixtus IV appointed his nephew, Girolamo Riario, as the new governor of Imola, and Francesco Salviati as archbishop of Pisa, a city that was a former commercial rival but now subject to Florence. Lorenzo had refused to permit Salviati to enter Pisa because of the challenge such an ecclesiastical position offered to his own government in Florence.

Source:Wikipedia

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