Medici on the Road (16-17 June 2022)




Stefano della Bella, Equestrian Portrait of Cosimo III (Fengjiang Library, Shanghai).

Whether for pleasure, exile, education, wedding, business, religious devotion, duress, or diplomacy, travel played a fundamental role in Medici history. From the exile of Cosimo the Elder in the Veneto to Gran Principe Ferdinando’s Venetian nights of debauchery, Prince Francesco’s internship at the Spanish Court, Prince Cosimo di Ferdinando II’s European tours, Prince Gian Gastone and Anna Maria Franziska’s honeymoon, and Grand Duchess Joanna of Austria’s pilgrimage to Loreto, many members of this family either chose or were forced to be on the road. Regardless of the specific reasons for leaving Florence, each trip constituted an important personal chapter in their lives as well as an opportunity to further family enterprises and, during the grand ducal period, reinforce state-building and consolidate diplomatic ties. An impressive corpus of surviving archival records—letters, account books, journals, diaries, avvisi, etc.—document this interpenetration between personal experiences and public spheres. This conference, the proceedings of which will be published, intends to investigate and bring to the fore a great number of themes, including but not limited to: time, routes, and costs of journeys; the personnel that accompanied the Medici; safety, risk and protection; material culture and agency; souvenirs and gift-giving culture; sightseeing and accommodations; religious pilgrimages and medical sojourns; the languages and literature of travel; maps and roads; reporting and mail; war and diseases; maritime travel; local and global networks; leisure and villeggiatura; survival strategies; local etiquette and global diplomacy; the protean geography of early modern Europe; preparations and conventions; Medici women traveling; death as a consequence of traveling; traveling without moving.

The organizers (Luciano Piffanelli and Miguel Tain Guzman) invite proposals for 25-minute unpublished papers in English or Italian. The conference will take place at Palazzo Alberti in Florence on 16-17 June 2022. To apply: please send an abstract (max 250 words) and a short bio (max 100 words) by 11 February 2022 to