On 2 June, 2019, the anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Italy, Simonetta Kortum Brandolini d’Adda, President of the Friends of Florence Foundation was awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana). The ceremony was held in Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence, and the award was presented by Andrea Pessina, Soprintendente Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Firenze e le province di Pistoia e Prato.
The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic – equivalent to a knighthood – was founded in 1951 and came into effect in 1952. The law (no.178 dated 3 March) establishing the order states that the honor is awarded for “merit acquired by the nation in the fields of literature, the arts, economics, public service and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers”.
This award is an important acknowledgement of all that the Foundation’s president has been doing since 1998 to preserve and restore the Florentine and Tuscan heritage, working in synergy with the owner-institutions, the government monitoring agencies and restorers.
“I am truly proud to have received this most important award for the work I have been doing over the past twenty years together with our donors, all the teams that cooperate with us, and our partners”, said Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda. “My work within the foundation is driven by the desire to offer future generations the same opportunities we have today – of seeing, studying and enjoying the artistic beauties of Florence and Tuscany, and of living according to the values that Western Culture instills in us through art. It is from the bottom of my heart that I want to thank all those who have believed and continue to believe in this project, and especially my sister Renée, who co-founded Friends of Florence with me in 1998. This honor will serve as further encouragement to continue the Friends of Florence endeavor so that more works of art in this city and this region can continue to tell their stories to the world for years, and hopefully centuries to come.”