Medici, Violante Beatrice de (d. 1731)

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Medici, Violante Beatrice de (d. 1731)

Tuscan noblewoman and governor of Siena . Name variations: Violante of Bavaria; Violante Beatrice of Bavaria; Yolande. Died in 1731; married Ferdinand de Medici (1663–1713, son of Cosimo III, grand duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise of Orleans ), in 1688; no children.

In November 1688, Prince Ferdinand, the son of the grand duke of Tuscany, and Princess Violante Beatrice of Bavaria were married extravagantly. As heir to the House of Medici, Ferdinand was said to be energetic and cultured, one of the more high-minded Medicis. But his weak father bullied him and thwarted his eagerness to take part in public affairs. Eventually, Ferdinand's zeal turned to cynicism, his path turned to debauchery, and he ruined his health by age 40 and died ten years later in 1713. "Unfortunately he did not care for the wife whom his father had chosen for him, the Princess Violante," writes G.F. Young, "though she was in every way worthy of his affection, and deservedly liked by all classes in Florence. She never reproached him for his neglect, and to the last continued to show her affection for him."

Following her husband's death, Violante retired to Siena and was made governor there. When Gian Gastone de Medici became grand duke of Tuscany in 1723, his wife Anne of Saxe-Lauenburg (Anna Maria de Medici ) refused to live there, so he installed his sister-in-law Violante as the social center of life at court. In time, she became "the chief influence, not only in social matters, but also in public affairs; an influence justly deserved, and followed by the best results." For her patronage of the arts and the poor, Pope Benedict XIII bestowed on her the Golden Rose.

When Ferdinand de Medici's coffin was reopened in 1857, it was found to contain the embalmed heart of Violante, which was enclosed in a vase of majolica. An inscription on the vase gave her name, titles, and "amiable qualities," and stated that "this truly royal heart, which in life was full of all virtues, has in accordance with her dying will and testament been placed in this coffin of her husband."


Young, Col. G.F. The Medici. NY: Modern Library, 1930.

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Medici, Violante Beatrice de (d. 1731)

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