The Medici Dynasty Show: an infotainment experience
I will start saying that the Medici Dynasty Show is an entertaining way to discover the Medici family and an excellent theatre’s performance, thanks to good actors, skilled director, realistic costumes and wigs and wise use of light and visuals.
Pitti palace. A bedroom in semi-darkness, a penumbra that reminds the end of an era, the Medici‘s era. This is the location, but it’s not Pitti palace, nor a real bedroom. It’s the medieval convent of San Giovannino Degli Scolopi, located in the Medici “triangle”, few steps from San Lorenzo Church, the Medici Chapels and the Medici palace. The “stage” is the charming library of the convent, and the spectators seat down at both sides of the rectangular space, like they were invisible participants of a dramatic talk between a resigned brother and a desperate sister. The protagonists are Giangastone de’Medici, the last Gran Duke, and Anna Maria Luisa, also called Palatine Electress. No one of them have had descendants, no hope of children from a third brother who died of a destructive form of syphilis. The Medici’s are destined to die out.
Giangastone has a dissolute life, he seems he doesn’t care of the imminent end of the Medici’s name, he’s completely abandoned to the fate (and to the filth). Anna Maria Luisa still wants to fight to save the savable, she has the energy of an heroin who doesn’t give up. In few days another family, the Habsburg-Lorraine’s from Austria, will take the power, and the Medici’s will be only a faded memory, after so many centuries of splendour.
The argument between brother and sister is sharp, they have plenty of things to reproach to each other: the homosexuality of him and the failure of his marriage, with the consequent lack of a little prince, the sterility of her, the sanctimony of the court, the luxurious life style of Giangastone, who spends his day in bed with his boyfriends, the excessive religiosity of Anna Maria Luisa, who is wrapped in a total black uncomfortable dress reminding her condition of widow. The dialogue at the beginning is very harsh, almost yelled. The one-hour show really keeps you glued to your seat, you don’t want to look at the time because you know that it’s only one hour and you wish it was much longer (but I’m sure the actors don’t think the same, in their beautiful but heavy stage costumes of velvet and wool!). The performance reconstructs the Medici family saga, from the fortune of Cosimo the Elder, to Lorenzo the Magnificent, who survived the terrible Pazzi plot, from the patronage of Botticelli, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi and Donatello, to the magnificence of the Renaissance. Florence was the city of the golden florin, of the merchants and bankers, of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, but also of the political intrigues of Machiavelli, the scientific revolution of the poor Galileo, who entitled the moons of Jupiter that he discovered to the Medici’s, to the invention of the piano by Bartolomeo Cristofori and the melodrama. Florence is all this, a melting pot of ideas, people and beauty, in one word Florence is the city of Renaissance.
The rage turns slowly into melancholy and the melancholy into a genial idea: let’s do an inventory, keeps on saying Anna Maria Luisa. Their principle fear is in fact that the Lorraine’s will take their patrimony, to sell it to pay-off their debts, dispersing centuries of art collections, comprehending Botticelli’s Venus and Primavera, Michelangelo’s David, Stradivari violins, Galileo’s telescope…. This is the brilliant idea of the Family Pact (Patto di Famiglia), signed in 1737. In collaboration with the Holy Roman Emperor and Francis of Lorraine, Anna Maria Luisa de’Medici bequeathed all the property of her family to the Tuscan state, providing that nothing was ever removed from Florence, because Florence belongs to the humanity.
I have to confess that the expressivity of Carolina Gamini and Riccardo Bono, Anna Maria Luisa and Giangastone on stage, really moved me, and at the end of the show I even surprised a little tear trying to flow out from my eyes.
The show is only in English (a perfect English), daily, from Wednesday to Sunday at 7 pm.