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Pietro Leopoldo: the great reformer

Historical Curiosities
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Pietro Leopoldo: the great reformer

The Festival of Tuscany is celebrated on November 30. Why this date? It is a tribute to one of the most important figures in the history of this region: Pietro Leopoldo, grand duke from 1765 to 1790. He was an enlightened sovereign, a great reformer who was also the author of Codice Leopoldino which is still used today as a model by many scholars. It was published on 30 November 1786 and for this reason, in 2001, this date was chosen to celebrate the Festival of Tuscany.

From a legislative point of view, it is a truly innovative document, especially with regard to criminal law: it abolished the crime of lèse majesté divine, the confiscation of property, torture during interrogation but above all the death penalty, which was replaced with forced labor in Maremma.

Why precisely in Maremma? Among his many merits, Pietro Leopoldo also drained the areas of Maremma and Valdichiana which at that time were marshy unhealthy lands. It is clear that workers in these places were in high demand! Therefore, it was better to use prisoners to carry out the land reclamation rather than keeping them locked in the cells. In addition to the Codice, there were many other works for which we still have to thank Grand Duke Leopold. For example, he worked to improve the road system throughout the region and he also improved many services. It was he, moreover, who, by promoting culture and studies, founded libraries and academies. In 1784, just to mention one of these institutions, he established the Academy of Fine Arts, still today a source of talented people and great pride for Florence. Do you want to discover other interesting stories like these about the past of Tuscany? That’s easy, just book, for example, our Your own Florence’ tour and our guides will answer all your history questions and many others!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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