The children of the wealthy and powerful Medicis, the family that dominated the Florentine Renaissance, suffered from rickets -- a disorder which today is among the most frequent childhood diseases in developing countries.
Scientists who exhumed the remains of several members of the clan, which ruled Florence and Tuscany from 1434 to 1737, also analyzed nine child skeletons, including that of Filippo (1577-1582), the seventh child of Francesco I and Giovanna of Austria, also known as Don Filippino.
Six out of nine showed the classic signs of rickets, such as curved arms and bow legs -- a consequence of trying to crawl or walk on pathologically soft bones.
The disease originated from the Medicis' desire to protect their offspring, raising them according to the highest social standards for their times. This included prolonged breast-feeding, little sunlight exposition and heavily swaddling the infants, leaving very little skin exposed.