In a tiny garden, at the back of the church of San Lorenzo, sits a statue of a woman to whom the city of Florence (and in particular all of its residents who work in the tourist industry) owes a huge debt of gratitude.
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1667-1743) was the sister of Gian Gastone de' Medici (r. 1723-37), the seventh and final Medicean Grand Duke of Tuscany, who died, without an heir, on July 9th, 1737. The grand duchy passed to Francis Stephen of the House of Lorraine and the Medici family's fabulous collection of paintings, sculptures, precious books, jewels etc, may have gone the same way, had it not been for the famous 'Patto di Famiglia' (Family Pact).
On October 31st 1737, Anna Maria Luisa, made a will which ensured that all of her family's art and treasures, which had been collected over nearly three centuries, remained in Florence 'per ornamento dello Stato, per utilità del Pubblico e per attirare la curiosità dei Forestieri' (for the ornament of the State, the use of the public and to attract the curiosity of foreigners).
In 1691 Anna Luisa de' Medici married Johann Wilhelm (1658-1716), Elector Palatine. The couple had no children. The Electress Palatine, and the last scion of the House of Medici, died on February 18th, 1743. Her remains were interred in the Cappella dei Principi (San Lorenzo), the family mausoleum, which she had helped complete.
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