Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, as the last survivor of the Medici dynasty, donated the family’s private collections to the city of Florence by signing the “Family Pact”, or Patto di famiglia upon her death. The pact with the city determined that the collections were to be shared with all future visitors to the city, and also stipulated that they could never be removed from Florence. It is likely many do not realize the importance of this well-thought out clause: without it, it is likely the collections would have been divided and sold by those that “inherited” them, and Florence would have been robbed of many of its treasures.
So whether you are a local or a visitor passing through Florence, take a moment to honor her gift this February 18th on the anniversary of her death. We can love and cherish the beauty of Florence today because of the many treasures the Medici family commissioned and collected throughout the centuries, which remain the essence of what Florence is.
In honor of her magnificent gift to the city, Florence pays tribute to her at the Medici Chapels this Thursday. Go ahead and join in, taking advantage that the museum will be open with free entry to everyone for the special occasion. The chapels will be open from 8:15am to 1:50pm, with a special ceremony at 11am right at her tomb (the ceremony is preceded by the parade in historical costume through the center of the city).
In addition, free entrance will be offered to other civic museums: Palazzo Vecchio (including tower and archaeological site), the Novecento museum, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Brancacci Chapel and the Bigallo museum.
Thank you Anna Maria!
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!