Anna Maria de’ Medici Celebrations & Free Museums from Feb. 18-22
Feb. 18 – 22: ANNA MARIA DE’ MEDICI TRIBUTE
This month Florence will celebrate the legacy of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici by hosting a number of special events in her honor. Before her death on February 18, 1743, she willed her family’s entire collection of art and her estate to the city of Florence, on the premise that they were to never leave the city under any circumstances. Thanks to her generosity and her family’s historical patronage of artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo da Vinci, Florence is home to some of the richest treasures from the Renaissance in the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace galleries. Given Anna’s gift to the city, Florence will be opening up a series of museums, chapels and other significant locations in remembrance from Feb. 18-22.
On February 18, a pageant of Florentines dressed in traditional Renaissance costume will march from Palagio di Parte Guelfa at 10:20 am to the Medici Chapels to participate in a ceremony at her grave (pictured).
For those interested in fully immersing themselves in a historical time machine, at 3, 4 and 5 pm, an actress who fully embodies the spirit and knowledge of Anna Maria Luisa de Medici will meet with visitors at three of the most significant locations connected with Anna and the Medici family in Florence. The first is scheduled in the Sala de Fiorino in Palazzo Pitti (3, 4, and 5 pm) on the February 18, followed by Palazzo Medici Riccardi on the morning of the 22nd (10:30 and 11:30 am) and at Villa La Quiete, via di Boldrone 2, in the afternoon (2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 pm). She will give a talk and also have time for open questions where guests can converse and learn more about the rich history of Florence’s most prominent and noble family.
All appointments are free and with reservations required (subject to availability) atPalazzo Pitti and Palazzo Medici Riccardi (all 055-2768224; or email firstname.lastname@example.org) and Villa La Quiete (055 2756444; email@example.com). Participation at the reenactments does not include the entrance fee to Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Medici Riccardi, where eventual access remains paid.
On the day of February 18, access to Palazzo Medici Riccardi is free for everyone, as well as in many of the Florence’s civic museums. See below for opening hours and times.
- Palazzo Vecchio from 9 am – 7 pm; and its Tower 10 am – 5 pm
- Museo Novecento of the 20 Century Art 11 am – 7 pm
- Santa Maria Novella 9 am – 5:30 pm
- Palazzo Medici Riccardi 9 am – 7 pm
Villa La Quiete hosts a little-seen work by Sandro Botticelli (1446-1510). “The Coronation of the Virgin” by the Renaissance master belongs to the University of Florence as part of a tangled legacy.
Villa La Quiete became a property of the Medici family in the 1400s, and the last Medici ruler who donated the Uffizi Gallery to Florence, Anna Maria Luisa, made it her summer residence in the 1700s, adding the Italian garden. Situated below Monte Morello, the estate was also home to a congregation of nuns who ran a private school of renown from 1650 to 2001. Once closed, Villa La Quiete’s new owner became the University of Florence, which in turn sold it to the Tuscan regional government with the exception of the art works hanging on the walls. The Botticelli panel is found in a room together with two works by Ghirlandaio. A Neri di Bicci is found close by. (bianca zavala/additional reporting by rosanna cirigliano)