In 1743, the last member of the family that had ruled Florence for almost 300 years died a slow and painful death. Historical documents suggest that Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici suffered from syphilis or breast cancer. But a first look at samples of her bone suggests that syphilis may not have killed her.

In 1966, the tombs of the Medici family were swamped in mud during severe flooding of Florence, which many feared had damaged the bodies. But Anna Maria Luisa's skeleton was found to be mostly intact when it was exhumed last October.

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