Elettrice Palatina

Elettrice Palatina

February 18th is the death anniversary of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, the last heir of her family, who bequeathed the Medici’s extraordinary art collections to the city of Florence.

The princess - known as Elettrice Palatina (Electress of the Palatinate) - following her marriage with the Prince of Saxony, Elector of the Palatinate - was the daughter of Grand Duke Cosimo III who had tried unsuccessfully to guarantee the continuity of the Medici dynasty. Back in Florence, after her husband’s death, Anna Maria Luisa had to face the difficult transition of the grand-ducal government from the Medici dynasty - which died out with the death of her brother Gian Gastone in 1737 - to the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty.

Anna Maria Luisa, who chose Villa La Quiete as her residence, was a cultured woman, an art lover and the patron of many artists. So we should not be surprised if among the various agreements, signed with the new dynasty that succeeded the Medici, there was a very important one that would definitively mark the destiny of Florence as a city of art: the Patto di famiglia (family pact).

With this agreement, the Grand Dukes of Lorraine (starting from Francis I who entered in Florence in 1739) pledged not to transport “… or take away from the Capital or from the Grand Duchy… Galleries, Paintings, Statues, Libraries, Jewels and other precious things… of the succession of the Most Serene Grand Duke, so that they would remain by ornament of the State, for the benefit of the public and to attract the curiosity of foreign visitors.” Thanks to the Electress, the immense artistic heritage of Florence has remained in the city and we can still admire it.

Several initiatives take place every year, on February 18th to commemorate Anna Maria Luisa. First of all is the historical parade of the Florentine Republic that crosses the historic centre and arrive at the Medici Chapels, on the Tomb of the Electress of the Palatinate. Traditionally, on that day, some museums offer free entrance and visitors have the opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary woman.

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