24 May 2016

Gian Gastone de' Medici – Grand Duke of Tuscany

The last Medici to rule Florence

Portrait of Gian Gastone de' Medici
A portrait of Gian Gastone de' Medici,
the last in a line of Florentine rulers
Gian Gastone de' Medici, the seventh and last Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born on this day in 1671 in the Pitti Palace in Florence.

He was the second son of Grand Duke Cosimo III and Marguerite Louise d’Orleans.

Because his elder brother predeceased him he succeeded his father to the title in 1723.

He had an unhappy arranged marriage and the couple had no children so when he died in 1737 it was the end of 300 years of Medici rule over Florence.

He spent the last few years of his reign confined to bed, looked after by his entourage.

One of his final acts was to order the erection of a statue to Galileo in the Basilica of Santa Croce.

He was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo and Francis Stephen of Lorraine succeeded to the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Travel tip:

The Palazzo Pitti, known in English as the Pitti Palace, is on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. It became the main residence of the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and is now the largest museum complex in Florence.

Photo of the Museo Galileo
The Museo Galileo in Piazza dei Giudici houses one of the
world's biggest collections of scientific instruments
Travel tip:

There is a museum dedicated to Galileo in Florence, the Museo Galileo in Piazza dei Giudici close to the Uffizi Gallery. It houses one of the biggest collections of scientific instruments in the world in Palazzo Castellani, an 11th century building. The museum is open Mondays to Sundays from 9.30 to 18.00, closing at 13.00 on Tuesdays.

(Photo of the museum courtesy of Museo Galileo CC BY-SA 3.0)

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