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The document we are looking at today gives us the opportunity to talk about Francesco I of Lorraine, the one who, together with his wife Maria Teresa Of Austria founded the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. A Dynasty that held the reins of Austria and the Habsburg hereditary states until the First World War. It’s a Monte NEW COMUNE of the city of Florence of 1764 in the period of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany of Francesco I of Lorraine, market value around 2000 euro today. Francesco Stefano of Lorraine was born in Nancy on December 8, 1708.

Scheda Gran Ducato di Toscana

He became Holy Roman Emperor with the name of Francesco I from 1745 until his death. He was Duke of Lorraine from 1728 to 1737 under the name of Francesco III, and gave up his title giving the Lorraine to France and buying in return the crown of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In 1736 he married Maria Theresa Of Austria, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, from which he had sixteen children, including the future emperors Giuseppe II and Leopoldo II and the Queens Maria Carolina of Naples and Marie Antoinette of France. In March of the same year, Francesco Stefano,  pursued by the emperor, agreed to exchange the Lorraine with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Charles VI, in fact, had put the exchange as a condition for the future wedding, showing before the official nuptial agreements his intention to consider other possible marriages for his daughter , for example with the future Charles III of Spain, who was one of the princes closer to the throne of Tuscany, since his mother Elisabetta Farnese, by means of his great-grandmother Margherita dé Medici, claimed  the right for his son to succeed Gian Gastone dé Medici. Francesco Stefano was willing to do anything to marry Maria Theresa of Austria, and for this he gave up the paternal dukedom: a decision that his mother Elisabetta Carlotta d’Orleans, and his brother Carlo Alessandro, didn’t appreciate at all,  since they were strongly opposed to the loss of Lorraine. francesco_I_lorenaWith Francesco’s Kingdom the Medici Dynasty came to an end. The Lorena family reigned over the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from 1737, (year in which the last Medici, Gian Gastone, died) to the annexation of the Grand Duchy to the rising of the state of Italy. In those years the Lorena had a very important role in the development and growth of Tuscany. Many are the distinguished representatives of this family who helped make Tuscany what it is today, thanks to an enlightened policy. The Lorraine, in fact, surrounded themselves with the best artists, architects and scientists of their time. Francesco I however, is an exception: he didn’t like Florence, better liking the Viennese court.  He stayed in Florence for just three months, by delegating the power to a representative council. Francesco I is remembered as a man of dissolute life, a great lover who betrayed his wife several times, despite their deep bond. In particular is known his relationship with  Maria Wilhelmina von Neipperg, Princess of Auersperg, thirty years younger than him. The adulterous relationship is evidenced by the letters and diaries of the visitors to the Court of Vienna, as well as the correspondence of the emperor’s kids. Francesco died suddenly  of a stroke in his carriage, on his way back from the Opera House in Innsbruck with his son Giuseppe, the evening of August 18, 1765. The two, along with the imperial family, were in the Austrian city to celebrate the wedding of Leopoldo with the Infanta Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Spain. His wife, Maria Theresa, suffered a terrible shock so that she always wore mourning for the remaining years of her life. Her second son, Pietro Leopoldo (Leopoldo II), succeeded  Francesco I of Lorraine and, unlike his father, he settled down immediately in Florence, where he ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany with an enlightened policy. He ruled from 1765-1790 realizing new reforms.  Tuscany became a model of reforms across Europe. Leopoldo II reorganized the administration and the public budget. He gave rise to a tax reform that made every citizen the same. Moreover he abolished the tortures and death penalty, according to the first principles of Cesare Beccaria. Finally he started with the reclamation works in the marshy areas of Maremma and Valdichiara by giving powerful impulse to agriculture and trade and constituted a modern system of communications road. The share of today, for its antiquity and importance, has a market value around 2 thousand euro. It’s not difficult to bet on its being increased in the coming years.

Alberto PUPPO
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