Bonaparte, Elisa (1777–1820)

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Bonaparte, Elisa (1777–1820)

Grand duchess of Tuscany, princess of Piombino, and ruler of Lucca. Name variations: changed name from Marie Anna to Elisa after marriage; Elisa Lucca; Elisa Bacciochi, Marie Anna Bonaparte; Contessa di Compignano. Born Marie Anna at Ajaccio, Corsica, on January 3, 1777; died near Trieste on August 7, 1820; daughter of Letizia Bonaparte (1750–1836) and Carlo Bonaparte (a Corsican lawyer); eldest sister of Napoleon I, emperor of France (r. 1804–1815); married Felice Pasquale Bacciochi, on May 1, 1797; children: Jérôme; Frederic; Napoléon; Elisa Baccioci.

Of the two Maria Anna Bonapartes born to Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte , one died and the other became known as Elisa. Described as "sourfaced and evil-tempered" and disliked by her brother Napoleon, Elisa was made princess of Lucca where she became a successful and respected sovereign. In 1806, she became princess of Piombino and in 1809 grand duchess of Tuscany. Intellectual and ambitious, she was known to surround herself with interesting, intelligent people. She had a number of affairs, including one with violinist Paganini, whom she appointed court musician. Her final years were spent at Trieste, where she was a patron of the arts and theater.