The Friends of the Pitti Palace, a private non-profit organisation, was founded in 1996 with the intent to publicize and promote the Palace, its treasures and its garden. With this aim, it organises visits for its members to permanent collections and temporary exhibitions under the guidance of art historians as well as lectures on arguments related to the history of Pitti. There are numerose trips and visits to exhibitions and sites connected with past and present events of the Palace.
Remembering the importance played by music at Pitti, mainly under the Medici and Lorena dynasties, the association organises musical entertainment at the Palace in connection with events and manifestations in the museum itself. It finances every year the restoration of one or more works of art from the collections chosen together with the curators of the museum and with the directors as wel as some publications dedicated mainly to children and edited by the didactic section of the mseum. Details of all the activities are listed in the Annual Bulletin.
The association was founded in 1996 by Marco Chiarini, director for about 30 years of the Palatine Gallery and Detlef Heikamp, a Florence and Pitti Palace scholar, who was the first president, aided by Francoise Pouncey Chiarini, a refined art historian, who was for years the animator. The headquarters of the association were temporarily in the Chiarini home but a few years later moved to the second floor of the Pitti Palace, in a zone next to the Gallery of Modern Art and the Costume Gallery. The directors of the Pitti museums and the superintendents are amongst its founding members. figurano i direttori dei musei di Pitti e i due soprintendenti.
The first bulletin was published in 2001, edited by Polistampa of Mauro Pagliai (a founding member) and presented to the two superintendents, Antonio Paolucci and Mario Lolli Ghetti. It contained news on the activities of the association and the musems from 1996 to 2001; a dutiful tribute to the Elettrice Palatina, Anna Maria Lise de’ Medici, edited by Stefano Casciu, inaugurates the scientific contributions, one of the strengths of the publication.
In 2003 the presidency passed to Marco Chiarini who, having terminated his long career as functionary and director, dedicated even more time to the association; many of the visits oraganised for the members to exhibitions and significant places see him as a passionate and gifted guide. The beginning of his presidency coincides with the organisatoni of an exhibition called Palazzo Pitti. A Royal Palace Revealed. (7th December 2003 – 31st May 004), conceived by Heikamp, a real ‘summa’ of studies and discoveries not only relative to Pitti but also to a vast period of Florentine art.
In 2014 Carlo Sisi, formerly director of the Modern Art Gallery, becomes President of the association. In November Francoise Chiarini passes away. The Bulletin, dedicated to Francoise, contained in the Small Anthology section conceived by her, various pages with memories of her best Friends; in the Boboli Garden, which she loved, a cedar planted on one of the lawns near the Island Pool, will perpetuate her memory. Following the changes of the Franceschini reform, the Pitti Palace museums become a part of the new “Uffizi Galleries”.
In 2015, just a year after Francoise, Marco Chiarini also left us. The annual Bulletin is entirely dedicated to him and collects the testimonies of affection of all his old and newer friends, from his art historian colleagues to ‘his’ custodians of the Palatine Gallery who commemorated him in the Sala Bianca on a day in December with For Marco Chiarini. Relations with the new Direction of the museums are consolidated to decide certain regulations relative to the use and free entrance of the Pitti and Uffizi museums.
In 2016 the Friends of the Pitti Palace celebrate in Boboli its 20 year long history, together with dignitaries from the City of Florence and the Tuscan Region.
A dicembre, nel salone monumentale della Marucelliana, è stata presentata il catalogo dei disegni del Seicento e Settecento della biblioteca, ultima fatica di Marco Chiarini, portata a conclusione dai suoi collaboratori.
Board of directors
Laura Baldini, Vicepresidente Giancarlo Lo Schiavo, Tesoriere Dercy Beyer, Consigliere John Treacy Beyer, Consigliere Silvestra Bietoletti, Consigliere Wanda Butera, Consigliere Alessandro Cecchi, Consigliere Detler Heikamp, Consigliere Serena Martini, Consigliere Serena Padovan, Consigliere Gabriella Rivetti Rousseau, Consigliere Silvia Meloni Trhulja, Consigliere
Cristina Acidini Luchinat, Kirsten Aschengreen Piacenti, Laura Baldini Giusti, Evelina Borea, Carlo Carnevali, Marco e Francoise Chiarini, Giovanni Conti, Alessandro Coppellotti, Detlef Heikamp, Mario Augusto Lolli Ghetti, Giancarlo Lo Schiavo, Annamaria Manetti Piccinini, Alessandra Marchi Pandolfini, Silvia Meloni Trkulja, Marilena Mosco, Serena Padovani, Mauro Pagliai, Sandra Pinto, Carlo Sisi, Maria Grazia Trenti Antonelli, Tatia Volterra.
Carlo Carnevali, Claudia Corti, Paolo Rousseau