The Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti decided to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Florence as the capital city of Italy with an exhibition dedicated to the presence of the King, and specifically to his stay in the Florentine royal Palace, which from 1865 also welcomed the Savoy family, the third great ruling dynasty after the Medici and the Lorraine.
The exhibition is set up in some of the original spaces of the Palazzo Pitti, providing an evocative reconstruction of the Sovereign's life, artistic tastes and main interests and relationships, trying to immerse the visitor in the atmosphere of the palace.
As the first Sovereign of the Italian nation, Vittorio Emanuele II became king in 1849 and visited Florence on several occasions following the annexation of Tuscany to Piedmont. One of these was the First National Exhibition held in 1861, where he made numerous purchases. His choices were heterogeneous, as was also his taste, rich in nuances; there were many paintings and sculptures and artisanal objects and furnishings. Hence, we have defined this extensive legacy of works as the King's gifts.
Therefore, the exhibition includes paintings, furniture, and artistic and handcrafted items that testify to the presence of the Savoy court at Palazzo Pitti.
After the city was elected capital, a renovation was necessary, involving the new Sovereign's private residence in the Palazzina della Meridiana and the Appartamenti Reali on the main floor of the Galleria Palatina.
The residence of the Duchess of Aosta, which is part of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, is the core of the exhibition, presenting almost all its rooms open to the public for this occasion. The interiors are furnished with objects of daily use that reflect the taste and personality of the rulers.
Visitors can also admire the fashion items of the time, purposely exhibited in the rooms that presumably belonged to the women who accompanied the Sovereign's life. Namely, Margherita di Savoia, Vittorio Emanuele's niece and daughter-in-law, and his daughters, Maria Pia and Maria Clotilde.
The exhibition is curated, as well as the catalogue published by Sillabe, by Simonella Condemi, and is promoted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism with the Regional Secretariat of the Tuscany Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the former Special Superintendence for Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage and the Polo Museale of the city of Florence, the Uffizi Galleries with the Galleria d'Arte Moderna of Palazzo Pitti and Firenze Musei.