Anna Maria Luisa the second child of Cosimo III and Marguerite Louise of Orléans, the favourite of her father who found in her that balance of affection he would never have from his wife. It is known that she was a striking child, dark, intelligent, and vivacious.
Anna Maria clearly had a cosier and happier childhood and a stronger and more balanced character, for she was sure of herself and of what she wanted. Like her grandmother she gave a serious direction to her life, from which she never wavered, and which she based on solid religious foundations, althought in later years her devotion became bigoted and superficial. She was clean and careful by nature, sometime quite rare in those days. She was well versed in modern languages, studied Latin, painted well, and grew flowers, but above all she loved music, like her siblings - perhaps the only positive inheritance from her mother.
Cosimo III arranged for her a marriage with the palatine elector of the Rhein, Johann Wilhelm of Saxony. Thus Anna Maria Luisa found herself in a foreign country amid new customs and new people that only with the time would become dear and familiar to her. Only after the death of her husband she crossed the borders of Tuscany after having been away for twenty-six years. In Florence she was welcomed by new cannon salvoes from the Belvedere fortress fired (perhaps for the only time) from the cannon of San Paolo, now in the Bargello, while all the bells rang. Cosimo III, at Pitti assigned her the Meridiana apartment, where her grandmother had lived and where she herself had passed many days of her childhood. Freed of the impending nightmare of the Medici court during the years of her stay in the Palatinate, she settled back into it, leaving it only to gather herself in prayer.
We can image her as severe, distant and deliberately closed to affection, which she allowed only to her father. With the death of Cosimo III on October 31, 1723, Anna Maria Luisa's life became still sadder, more solitary and more withdrawn. Gian Gastone, upon becoming grand duke, also lived in the palace, but the brother and sister never encountered one another. Gian Gastone died on July 9, 1737.
Now Anna Maria Luisa was the last of her family and remained alone in the great Pitti palace. She loved Florence, whose beauty she considered unique and for which she longed terribly during the twenty-six years of her happy (but childless) marriage in a distant mothern land.
Anna Maria Luisa's greatest achievement was undoubtedly the "Treaty or Convention of the Family", concluded with her successors the Grand Dukes of Lorraine on October 31, 1737, by which all the art treasures belonging to the Medici family became property of the city of Florence museums for the enjoyment of people from all over the world.
Family Portrait: The Medici of Florence (back to index...)