Firenze, February 16, 2017
This year’s annual week in Palm Beach has been a whirlwind of activity and emotions, marking the first decade of the organization’s existence and wrapping up our anniversary celebrations, with a bright outlook for our future growth.
As always I was deeply touched by everyone’s affectionate welcome and warm friendship, making my stay feel like a happy family reunion; and I was greatly impressed by the amount of work done by each and every member of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board.
For a strong visual impact of the number of projects brought to fruition by the Friends over their ten years’ activity, I prepared a photo slideshow of the artworks restored thanks to their generous support, from sculptures to paintings to tapestries, as well as the refurbishment of the vestibule and the Michelangelo room: a really impressive array of accomplishments!
To add to the excitement, this year we were honored by the presence of the Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt, who stayed two days in Palm Beach and was very pleased to meet the Friends who could not come to our special Florentine Weekend last October. He took part in the Board of Directors’ meeting, visited the fabulous villa and art collection of a Friend, and gave a lecture at Northern Trust, North Palm Beach, explaining all his future plans for the Uffizi Galleries to make them more user-friendly and regulate the access so as to reduce queues and overcrowding.
And to crown it all, during the meeting at Northern Trust I read the thank-you letter I received from the Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism – Doctor Dario Franceschini – whom I had recently visited and informed of my imminent visit to Florida – expressing his admiration and high praise for all the work done by the American Friends to preserve our cultural heritage and common values of integration and dialogue.
I look forward to another year of successful achievements and shared friendship.
With gratitude and admiration,
Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti
Firenze, February 16, 2016
Just back from the annual visit to Palm Beach, where, together with Vice President Manuel Guerra, I enjoyed the usual enthusiastic welcome and warm hospitality of the whole Boards of Directors and Advisors, I wish to share my ever-growing satisfaction and pride in presiding over an organization of such passionate patrons of the arts.
This is going to be a very important year for the Friends of the Uffizi as it marks the tenth anniversary of the organization, and we can proudly look back on our remarkable accomplishments, having brought to fruition over these past ten years many of the important restoration projects submitted by the Uffizi Gallery’s director and curators to our Italian sister organization Amici degli Uffizi.
2015 has been a year of momentous changes made by the government in the management of
the Italian Cultural Heritage, with a reorganization of all state-owned museums, the
appointment at the Uffizi of the new director Eike Schmidt, and the creation of the new
museum group called Uffizi Galleries; this includes the Uffizi and the museums of the Pitti
Palace as well as the Boboli Garden, to all of which our membership cards will grant
But even amid the turmoil, it has been for us an extraordinary year for the quantity and
quality of the restorations either completed or undertaken: the marble group of Hercules
and Nessus; three further ancient marbles along the corridors – the statues of Athena,
Victory and the Seated Apollo; the 15th-century triptych The Raising of Lazarus by Nicolas
And the jewel in the crown has been beginning the restoration of the precious series of the
Valois Tapestries, funding so far the conservative restoration of the Journey, and the
specialized cleaning and maintenance treatment of Feast for the Polish Ambassadors and
Attack on an elephant; with projects for the remaining tapestries already in the pipeline.
Now we can all start looking forward to our fifth Florentine Weekend in October, with
endeavours already underway to make it a very special occasion for the art-loving
participants and generous supporters of our historic and cultural heritage.
I look forward to sharing the pleasure of another fruitful year of well-achieved goals.
Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti