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

Élisa Bonaparte

Stefano Tofanelli, Portrait of Élisa Baciocchi. Lucca, Palazzo Orsetti
Stefano Tofanelli, Portrait of Élisa Baciocchi. Lucca, Palazzo Orsetti

Élisa Bonaparte (Ajaccio, 3 January 1777 – Trieste, 8 August 1820), whose real name was Marianna, was the daughter of Carlo Maria Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino, and Napoleon’s younger sister. She left her family and Corsica at a very young age to be educated in a school near Paris. Around 1795, the Bonaparte family established itself in Marseilles and Élisa, back from Paris, met captain Felice Baciocchi, whom she would marry in May 1797 despite her powerful brother’s strong opposition to the match.

When he became the Emperor of France, Napoleon instituted the Principality of Lucca and Piombino which Élisa governed from 14 July 1805. One year later, Napoleon added the Duchy of Massa and the marquisate of Carrara to his sister’s possessions. Among the main legislative reforms promoted by Élisa, who was very active in the government of the territories subject to her, one should note the "Rural Code of the Principality of Piombino" of 24 March 1808 and the new penal code promulgated in 1807 and reformed in 1810. Napoleon in fact considered her to be the best of his ministers and Élisa applied the style and method of her brother introducing into the principality French laws and institutions and reordering administrative, bureaucratic and judiciary structures.

On 3 March 1809 Élisa became Grand Duchess of Tuscany and from that moment resided in Florence, returning to Lucca only in March 1814.

After the fall of Napoleon, in 1814, she was constrained to flee with her husband. She stayed briefly in Trieste and finally retired to the large property of Villa Vicentina, between Cervignano and Aquileia, where she died of cancer. She was buried in the basilica of San Petronio in Bologna.