Gian Gastone, the last Grand Duke of the Medici Dynasty, lies on his deathbed in Palazzo Pitti. His sister Anna Maria Luisa drops in to check on his health, and a conversation ensues in which she berates him for his disgusting habits, all the while remembering the important contributions that their family has made to the city of Florence. This is the setting for the Medici Dynasty Show, the edu-tainment theatre show in its second year in Florence.
The show features just two actors, and lasts about one hour. Last year it was located in a library across from the facade of the church of San Lorenzo, while this year the location is a Baroque church, that of Sant’Onofrio, inside the complex of Il Fuligno (via Faenza 48). With well characterized protagonists and attractive projections on the walls, the story holds our interest and educates as well.
Playing on the troubled relationship between the two siblings – one very proper, the other known for his gay drunken debauchery – through dialogue “they slowly re-discover their brother-and-sister bond, and do so by time traveling through 300 years of Florence history,” says Director Bari Hochwald. The original script of the play has been slightly changed since last year by Marisa Garreffa, digging deeper into the lives of the Medici siblings, which acts as comic relief for what is, otherwise, a very educational show.
The actors sum up some of the greatest works of art commissioned by the Medici family, deciding to draw up a document – that actually exists – to protect them, and in the end to protect many works in Florence. The document signed by Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, Electress Palatine, known as the Family Pact, ensured that Medici treasures could not be moved from the city, thereby also guaranteeing the city’s future attraction to tourists.
“One of the main ideas of this show,” explains Giuseppe Arone, co-creator of the show with Cristiano Brizzi, “is to provide the public with an educational form of entertainment.” Indeed, I’d recommend that visitors should have a bit of a base in Florence and Medici history to understand what’s going on, at which point the show helps fill in some blanks, or stimulates you to look other things up. It’s a good way to spend an evening as a tourist, and a must-see for study abroad students.
The Medici Dynasty Show
Il Fuligno (via Faenza 48)
Ticket office: Piazza di San Lorenzo 6
Info and online tickets: www.medicidynasty.com
Shows Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 7pm. (In August, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday).
Adults €30 / Students €20