Descendant of one of the noblest and most powerful Florentine families, a man of letters, a musician, an Alterato academic (since 1574, under the name of Puro) and a Crusca academic (since 1586, under the name of Incruscato) patron, a political and a military man. As a man of letters and arms, he took an active part in the political life of the state by intervening in the siege of Siena, and above all, as a pontifical lieutenant, in the war against the Turks. He played a leading role in the cultural debate of the late Renaissance, opening the experiments that would lead to the Baroque theatre through the famous “Camerata fiorentina” (or Bardi’s society), which met in the Count’s palace, composed of artists and intellectuals who addressed the investigation of classical art and manners in which to make it compatible with the new civilization.
Ottavio Rinuccini, Giulio Caccini, Jacopo Peri and Vincenzo Galilei, who dedicated the Dialogue of ancient and modern music to Bardi, were the animators. This led to experiments which, by redeeming the role of the word, gave life to the first examples of monodic or representative music. The leading role played in the cultural life of the Grand Duchy is clearly reflected in the two great shows that inaugurated the Medici theatre in Buontalenti: with an opera by de’ Bardi, L’amico fido, the magnificent Uffizi theatre, opened in 1586, and the last intermedio, which he presented in anticipation of the wonders of 1589. With the general programme of the intermedi of La Pellegrina de’ Bardi in particular, he was to reach the peak of his influence in the artistic life of the Grand Duchy.