February 18 celebrates the greatest patroness of the arts in Florence’s history: Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici.
As the last of the ruling Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa wrote out the “Family Pact” which left its citizens and all who visit Florence the extraordinary legacy of art the family had accrued over three centuries. Her will stipulated one thing: NONE of it was to ever leave Florence or the state of Tuscany. She most definitely foresaw the attraction such works would have for “foreign visitors” and said that was the reason all the works had to remain in the city.
It is she we have to thank that the vast majority of treasures we see and can admire in Florence have remained here, making it is the artistic mecca it is today.
In honor of Anna Maria Luisa, the city of Florence opens up some of its civic museums with free entry for the public on the day of her death, February 18th. Be sure to include a visit to the Medici Chapels (free for the day) to pay your respects (the burial ground for all of the Medici, Anna Maria Luisa included).
Free entrance to the following museums with opening hours:
- Palazzo Vecchio – museum and archeological site 9am-7pm, tower 10am-5pm
- Museo Novecento – 11am-7pm
- Santa Maria Novella – 1-5:30pm
- Cappella Brancacci – 1-5pm
- Fondazione Salvatore Romano – 1-5pm
- Museo del Bigallo – visits only upon reservation (+39-055-288496) – 10am and 12pm
- Cycling Museum Gino Bartoli – 10am-4pm
- Stefano Bardini Museum – 11am-5pm