On Tuesday, February 18, 2014, Florence commemorates Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, Elettrice Palatina (11 August 1667 – 18 February 1743), on the anniversary of her death with several initiatives. The city, after all, has a lot to be thankful for to the last scion of the House of Medici.
An important patron of the arts, she bequeathed the Medici family’s enormous art collection, including the contents of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and the Medicean villas, which she inherited upon her brother Gian Gastone’s death in 1737, and her Palatine treasures to the Tuscan state, on the condition that no part of it could be removed from “the Capital of the grand ducal State….[and from] the succession of His Serene Grand Duke.” In additions to decorative and fine arts, she was also a patron to musicians of the time and helped fund the completion of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, where her bones were exhumed from in 2012.
Anna Maria Luisa’s single most enduring act was the Family Pact. It ensured that all the Medicean art and treasures collected over nearly three centuries of political ascendancy remained in Florence. Cynthia Miller Lawrence, an American art-historian, argues that Anna Maria Luisa thus provisioned for Tuscany’s future economy through tourism. Sixteen years after her death, the Uffizi Gallery, built by Cosimo the Great, the founder of the Grand Duchy, was made open to public viewing. (source)
What a grand lady! Without her generosity, Florence could have been much less wealthy in her museum offerings and amazing arts patronage. Read more about Anna Maria Luisa and her legacy here.
These are the ways we can celebrate:
- FREE entrance to the Medici Chapel (8:15am-5pm)
- FREE entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio (9am-7pm) and the Arnolfo Tower (9am-5pm) from where you can see fantastic views of the city. Reservations are recommended as places are limited: 055 276 8224/558.
- At 10:40am Corteo Storico (historical procession) della Repubblica Fiorentina from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa to the Medici Chapels
- At 3pm Corteo Storico della Repubblica Fiorentina from Piazza della Signoria to Santa Croce (to recognize the 450th anniversary of Michelagnelo’s death).
- At 3pm — 4pm — 5pm at the Palazzo Pitti, you can meet the theatrical personality of Anna Maria Luisa in full costume and context of her life and history. Entrance is FREE but must be reserved by calling 055 2616056. More info in Italian found here.