Gian Gastone de’ Medici, the last homosexual of the Medici dynasty

Gian Gastone de’ Medici, the last homosexual of the Medici dynasty

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The last sovereign ruler of the Medici dynasty, Gian Gastone (1671-1737), Grandson of Ferdinando II, reigned fourteen years – from 1723 to 1737. He was a lonely pubescent man who spent most of his time isolated in the Boboli Garden, concentrated in his studies on flowers and plants and his collection of dainty, delicate objects and things. It is said that because of his homosexuality, he was affected with a deep melancholy. He was the second in the hereditary line since the first soon of the Grand Duke was Ferdinando. When Ferdinando died without heirs in 1713, Gian Gastone inherited the throne. In 1697 and for alliances and dynasties reasons, Gian Gastone was forced to marry a German-Bohemian princess, Anna Maria Franziska. The matrimony was a calamity from the beginning due to the lack of comprehension combined with a high degree of repellency and depressed resignedness on part of Gian Gastone. The marriage had no children thus consequently the option of a Medici heir vanished.


In 1699 he had started to spend a lot of time in Prague, away from his wife. There, his lackey Giuliano Dami, lover of Gian Gastone himself, provided many different lovers to him, from city students to servants. In 1705, Gian Gastone abandoned his wife and came back to Florence. After the death of his father, Cosimo III, in 1723, he took the throne and became Grand Duke. Following a short productive period, he returned to his habit of drinking, lounge around and sleep with men. Spending much of his time in bed, he was cherished constantly by a group of paid youngsters known as the Ruspanti – name taken from the ruspi, that was at the time the name of the coin, with which the Grand Duke paid them. In this way, Gian consumed the last years of his existence until he passed away.


Gian Gastone de’ Medici, el último homosexual de la dinastía Medici

Nieto de Ferdinando II, el último gobernante soberano de la dinastía Medici, Gian Gastone (1671-1737), reinó desde 1723 hasta 1737. Era un joven solitario que pasaba la mayor parte de su tiempo en el refugio que tenía en el jardín de Bóboli, absorbido por sus estudios sobre plantas y flores y su colección de objetos preciosos y cosas bellas. Dicen que debido a su homosexualidad, sufría de una profunda melancolía. Como segundo hijo del Gran Duque, no se esperaba que Gian Gastone heredase el trono hasta que, en 1713, su hermano mayor, Ferdinando, murió sin herederos. Por razones dinásticas, en 1697, Gian Gastone fue obligado a casarse con una princesa germano-bohemia, Anna Maria Franziska de Sajonia-Lauenburg.

El matrimonio fue un desastre, basado en la falta de comprensión, repulsión y una especie de resignación abatida por parte de Gian Gastone. Ningún niño nació de este matrimonio. Obviamente, no había esperanza para un heredero Medici. Ya en 1699, Gian Gastone había comenzado a pasar gran parte del tiempo lejos de su esposa, en Praga, donde su lacayo y amante Giuliano Dami le procuraba otros amantes siempre cambiantes, escogidos entre los estudiantes y sirvientes de la ciudad. En 1705, Gian Gastone dejó a su esposa y regresó a Florencia, donde se convirtió en Gran Duque tras la muerte de su padre, Cosimo III, en 1723. Después de un breve período productivo, volvió a sus hábitos de meditar, beber sin compostura y acostarse con hombres. Pasaba gran parte de su tiempo en la cama, entretenido sexualmente por un séquito de jóvenes conocidos como los Ruspanti, llamados así por los ruspi (monedas) que les pagaban.

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Paco Neumann

Paco Neumann is a journalist, photographer, proofreader, flâneur and perpetual amateur currently living in between Florence, Berlin and Tenerife. He´s been a regular contributor to fashion, art, trend and lifestyle magazines and worked for news, advertising and communication agencies

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