Tasti di scelta rapida del sito: Menu principale | Corpo della pagina

The Buonaparte family in San Miniato

San Miniato (Pisa), Palazzo Formichini
San Miniato (Pisa), Palazzo Formichini

On 2 July 1796, Napoleon, busy with the taking of Leghorn, went to San Miniato to visit his elderly uncle, the canon Filippo Buonaparte. Recalling this event are an issue of the Gazzetta Toscana, edited in San Miniato, and a painting by Egisto Sarri (owned by the Cassa di Risparmio in San Miniato and housed in the Palazzo Formichini together with the preparatory sketch) in which the commander enters the Tuscan village on horseback, with the unmistakable outline of the Tower of Frederick II in the background. Local sources also reveal that the young Napoleon and his father visited San Miniato in 1778, when the future emperor came to Tuscany in search of documentation attesting to the noble origins of his family, necessary for his admission into the prestigious military college of Brienne.
The residence of the Buonaparte family in San Miniato was what is now the Palazzo Formichini, today the seat of the local Cassa di Risparmio. The palazzo was built in the sixteenth century for Vittorio di Battista Buonaparte di San Miniato and on the plan of the architect Filippo di Baccio d’Agnolo, son of the famous Florentine artist.
In the eighteenth century, the building was integrated by a loggia and hanging garden, whereas over the course of the twentieth century it underwent radical renovation, preserving only the sixteenth–century facade.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, when the Cathedral of San Miniato was renovated on the wish of the provost Giuseppe Conti, the Sienese sculptor Giovanni Dupré and his daughter Amalia were entrusted with the commission to produce commemorative monuments to illustrious San Miniato natives. One result of this project was the cenotaph of Iacopo Buonaparte, who lived between 1478 and 1541 and was likely the author of the historical account of the Sack of Rome in 1527. The upper part of the white marble monument, located in the left nave of the Cathedral, features a bust of Iacopo Buonaparte: the physiognomy of his face echoes, as if to underline the distant familial relationship, that of Napoleon, and has a particular affinity with the celebrated bust of Napoleon produced by Canova in Paris in 1802, a possible iconographic model for the San Miniato work.
The two branches of the Buonaparte family in San Miniato were extinguished in 1780 with the death of Giuseppe Moccio and that of the canon Filippo in 1799.