In 1743, the last member of the family that ruled Florence for almost 300 years he suffered a slow and painful death. Historical documents indicate that Anna Maria Luisa de Medici suffered from syphilis or breast cancer. However, a first look at the samples of his bones suggests that perhaps syphilis was not the cause of his death.
In 1996, the Medici tombs sank into the mud during the severe floods that ravaged Florence, causing many of the bodies to be damaged. But the skeleton of Anna María Luisa was found practically intact when it was exhumed last October in the joint investigation of the University of Florence and the Reiss Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim (Germany).
Anna María Luisa married Johann Wilhelm II, ruler of the Electoral Palatinate, a territory of the Holy Roman Empire currently located in the Rhineland of Germany. After her husband's death in 1716 she returned to Florence, so after investigators found her body buried in the Palatinate crown rather than the Medici crown, doubts about her death increased.
Albert zink, a biologist and anthropologist from the European Academy of Bolzano in Italy is carrying out a DNA analysis of the bones of Anna María Luisa and of the material of a pot that seems to contain her entrails, since according to the Medici tradition they had to be buried separated from the body.
After the study, Zink explained that the skeleton of Anna María Luisa “there are no signs of advanced syphilis, since the disease in this stage usually causes bone remodeling of the skull and external growth”. However, he adds that he does not rule out the early stages of the disease, which in some cases causes organ failure and death.
“A more exhaustive study of her DNA can provide us with information about whether Anna María Luisa was prone to breast cancer, but we do not yet know if the sample is of sufficient quality to determine this theory since the environment of the tomb was very humid”. Zink added that if they confirm that the remains of the pot belonged to Anna Maria Luisa they will be able to study more DNA samples that provide more accurate information.
The Reiss Engelhorn Museum has opened an exhibition on February 17 called “The Medici: people, power and passion”Commemorating the 270th anniversary of the death of Anna María Luisa bringing together art, history and science to present the life of the Medici family, who ruled Florence from the 15th century until the death of Anna Maria Luisa's brother in 1737.
Almost graduated in Advertising and Public Relations. I started to like history in 2nd year of high school thanks to a very good teacher who made us see that we have to know our past to know where the future takes us. Since then I have not had the opportunity to investigate more in all that our history offers us, but now I can take up that concern and share it with you.