Patrons and Governing Body


  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • Diego Paternò Castello di San Giuliano



As a charity the British Institute of Florence has a board of unpaid trustees called Governors who hold the charity in trust, set the strategic direction and appoint the director.

The following are currently serving as Governors:



 Mr Christopher Prentice - Chairman

Christopher Prentice worked for 39 years in the UK Foreign Service, before retiring in 2016. His final posting was as Ambassador to Italy for five years. He has been married to Nina since 1978. They have four children and a growing number of grandchildren. Their main home is in Oxfordshire but they also enjoy regular visits to a family home of Nina’s in the Val d’Aosta.



Ms Maria Grazia Antoci, TEP

A lawyer based in Florence and specialised in international private law. She works helping clients with interests spread across the world to solve matters involving different countries and jurisdictions. She has been assisting members of the British Community, living or having interests in Italy, in cross-border legal matters for more than 23 years. Her main areas of work are real estate, estate planning and Wills, administration of estates in cross-border successions, protection of vulnerable  adults and  defense of human rights,  intellectual property law and fashion law.

She is a full member of STEP (TEP) that is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning; she is also the  coordinator for Tuscany of “Giustizia per i Diritti” a network of lawyers of the association “Cittadinanzattiva”. She was appointed honorary secretary for Tuscany of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy.



Ms Beatrice Bargagli Stoffi

Beartrice Bargagli Stoffi works for the Leeu Collection as Office Manager of Leeu Villa Querce. She was previously on the management board for the Mayor’s Office – International and Ceremonial relations – of the Municipality of Florence and she was Head Secretary for the Management Board for Tourism Agency of Florence and Head Secretary to the Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Province of Florence. She founded the Associazione Atelier degli Artigianelli, a cultural association that offers training courses in traditional artisanal crafts and she is the co-founder of the Associazione Amici della Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze.



Mr Luigi Dei - Rector University of Florence

Lugi Dei is an Italian academic, science communicator and university chancellor. Son of Maestro Sergio Dei, violinist of the Orchestra of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, he teaches chemistry at the University of Florence, where he has been Chancellor since 2015.



Dr Loyd Grossman CBE

Loyd Grossman is a broadcaster and entrepreneur long associated with culture and education. He is Chairman of the Royal Parks and Chairman of Gresham College and a Trustee of the Warburg Charitable Trust. His past appointments include Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, Chairman of the University for the Creative Arts, Chairman of National Museums Liverpool, Vice Chairman of the Royal Drawing School and a Governor and Member of Council of the London School of Economics. He is a keen guitarist and this year performed for the eighth time at Glastonbury.



Archt Agnese Mazzei

Agnese Mazzei studied and trained in Florence in architecture and in monuments' conservation, as well as in restoration of rural structures in the Tuscan countryside. Being part of a notable wine family, in 2000 she bravely embarked on the challenge of building innovative and state-of-the art wine cellars for some of the most important Tuscan wineries, of which Sassicaia, Fonterutoli and Brolio are among the most celebrated examples. Her projects, executed either in Tuscany, the rest of Italy and internationally are her architectural studio's main strength. In 2007 she has co-founded the Associazione Amici di Santo Spirito to raise funds for re-opening the basilica of Santo Spirito in Florence and keeping it open in safety conditions. Since then she is serving as President of this non-profit organization. She lives with her 14 years old daughter and has her working headquarters in Florence.



Isobel McGregor

Isobel McGregor has had a long career in education in Scotland and world-wide.  After some 15 years as a teacher and working for a local authority, she joined Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education in Scotland where she fulfilled a number of roles.  Since retiring from that post, she has worked with SICI (Standing International Conference of Inspectorates - the European association for inspectorates of education) and for OECD as an expert consultant. These involvements have taken her to many countries in Europe and beyond.  In addition, she has worked internationally at Government level as an individual, particularly in the context of providing consultation on educational improvement, notably in Mexico and South American countries and most recently in France and Morocco. 



 David Nightingale 

David Nightingale has been Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Kent since 2002, shouldering a wide range of responsibilities since that time. He is an ancient historian by training and lived for a year whilst a Craven Fellow at the British School of Rome. He has been an active member of the Council of International Schools, chairing its UK higher education committee. He is the Chair of Governors of the University of Kent Academy Trust where the University is sponsor of two schools and is a trustee of The Place, the London-based dance organisation which incorporates the London Contemporary Dance School. 



Mrs Sarah Percy-Davis

Founder of Art Market Enterprises, a consultancy offering art advisory, former Chairman of Asian Art in London and past Chief Executive of LAPADA, the UK’s largest art and antiques dealers’ association, Sarah has a demonstrable record of achievements in the arts and media sectors and a proven track record for facilitating financial growth as well as raising company profile through events, digital presence, PR and marketing. Her early career was auction house focused starting in 1994 as a specialist and auctioneer in the Picture department of Phillips Son & Neale and moving in 1998 to Sotheby’s, to run sales of 19th century pictures. Along side her art consultancy business where she works for private individuals as well as large corporate clients, Sarah represents the portrait artist Ralph Heimans, best known for his official Jubilee Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.



Mr James Stewart - Treasurer

James Stewart has spent a thirty year career at Schroders, the London-based investment firm, as both an investment and business manager.   His first career was in the British Army.  He is an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK and has a Degree in Geography from Durham University.


Ex officio



Ms Jill Morris CMG - Honorary President

Ms Jill Morris CMG was appointed Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Italian Republic and Her Majesty's non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of San Marino in succession to Mr Christopher Prentice CMG. Ms Morris took up her appointment during July 2016.



The Hon. Lady Roberts DCVO - British Academy Representative

Jane Roberts worked in the Royal Collection from 1975 until 2013, when she retired from the post of Librarian at Windsor Castle. As Librarian she was a member of the Royal Collection’s Senior Management Board and a Director of Royal Collection Enterprises. In addition to writing and editing catalogues, she has also published (and lectured) widely on the Royal Collection. On her retirement she was appointed Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and is also involved (unpaid) in other institutions and charities, including sitting on the Board of the Royal Drawing School and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.



Honorary Life Governors



Mr Michael Griffiths OBE

Before retiring in 2003, Michael Griffiths was Managing Partner in Italy of Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) an international firm of actuarial consultants. He has lived in in Florence since 1978 and was President of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy from 1993 to 1997.