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Prince and Princess in Italy for 160th anniversary of Monaco Consulate in Florence

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A gala evening celebrated the 160th anniversary of Monaco's Consulate in Florence - © Éric Mathon / Prince's Palace

The Consulate is one of the oldest of the Principality’s consulates in Italy, along with the one in Savona.

It had been eleven years since Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene last visited Florence. But on 12 April, the Prince and Princess returned to the Tuscan capital for the 160th anniversary of the Principality’s Consulate in Florence.

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On 27 July 1863, the Italian city welcomed the Monaco Consulate, at the instigation of Prince Charles III. The Sovereign of the time wanted to reaffirm the independence and autonomy of the Principality and foster growth in its economy and tourism.

Alessandro Giusti, Honorary Consul of Monaco in Florence for twenty years, welcomed the Princely Couple. He also spoke to Monaco Info about the history that the city and the Principality share: “The Principality has always been a pioneering country, ahead of the others. In 1865, Florence became the capital of Italy for six years, whereas Monaco had already established its first Consulate in the country here in Florence two years previously in 1863. Prince Rainier was a frequent visitor to Italy and Tuscany. For example, his honeymoon trip was to the thermal baths at Montecatini.”

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Alessandro Giusti, Honorary Consul of Monaco in Florence, welcomed the Prince and Princess – © Éric Mathon / Prince’s Palace

After a visit to the historic centre of Florence, including the famous Ponte Vecchio, the Prince and Princess went to Palazzo Gondi, where they had lunch with the Mayor of the city, Dario Nardella, and the most prominent local figures.

The Sovereign and his wife then visited the headquarters of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. Accompanied by world-renowned singer and his wife Veronica, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene were then treated to a small private performance, during which Andrea Bocelli played some of his songs on the piano. The Maestro’s Foundation, whose mission is to improve quality of life for underprivileged people who are dealing with illness or disability, also received support from Prince Albert II.

“This is essential, because we can do a lot on our own, but if they’re several of us, we can do even more. I have known Prince Albert II for a very long time. I even lived in Monaco and have wonderful memories of it. We still have many projects to work on together and I am sure we share the same preoccupations,” he told Monaco Info.

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The Prince’s and the singer’s Foundations were honoured at the 160th anniversary gala at the Consulate, receiving a large part of the proceeds of the event at the Palazzio Vecchio, in the “Salone dei Cinquecento”.

Before dinner, the Prince received a beautiful gift from Mrs. Elena Campeggi: portraits of Grace Kelly drawn by the Italian artist Nano Campeggi, who was famous for his illustrations for iconic Hollywood movie posters.

Appointed Honorary President of the medieval Sbandieratori group in Florence, Prince Albert II is perpetuating the Grimaldi tradition, like Prince Rainier III before him.

“The history of the Grimaldi Family has always been important to us, a reference. We hope to return to perform in Monaco one day. And when we proposed this Honorary Presidency [to Prince Albert II, editor’s note], he accepted immediately. It was a very pleasant surprise,” concluded Stefano Torrelli, President of the Sbandieratori of Florence, on Monaco Info.