The outskirts of Florence were already in the 13th Century a heavenly refuge

During the 14 century , when the plague broke over Italy like a divine judgment in the Italian art epoch of the Trecento. The Black Death, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, killed around a third of all people in Europe at the time. Many aristocrats at the time fled to the country  and outskirts of Florence, such as Fiesole.

During that time in Florence itself, being a key centre for merchants, extremely rich, and a center of culture and the arts - 60 to 80 percent of the then 100,000 inhabitants died.  Compared to this, the Covid 19 pandemic - one has to classify it this way in historical retrospect - is fortunately less serious.

Giovanni Boccaccio, the style-defining Italian writer, described the collapse of public order on the Arno, the escalating and soon ubiquitous chaos. The helplessness and ignorance of the doctors and scholars, the relatives, the priests, believers, those who fear God.

Boccaccio's Decameron describes the circumstances due to the plague. His plot concerns ten young people - seven women, three men - who withdraw to a refuge in the area of Fiesole in the face of the disaster in their city, into self-isolation, in voluntary quarantine. Fiesole, founded in the deepest pre-Christian era by the Etruscans is  older than the city of Florence.

In a villa with a garden, they delight themselves in story telling and make themselves comfortable - for ten days with ten stories each. Which also explains the name of the first prose work in Italian literature: "Dekameron" translated from Greek means something like "ten-day work".

In terms of content, the 10 stories of the “Decameron” draw a multi-faceted moral picture that covers the then known world, all social groups and all human emotional states. Demonstrating clearly that Boccaccio "was a very modern writer" for his time. 

The book was also used as a basis for the film The Decameron (Italian: Il Decameron) is a 1971 film by Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is the first movie of Pasolini's Trilogy of life, the others being The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights.

The city of Fiesole dominates the Arno and Mugnone valleys: a village of infinite beauty, born on the basis of a precise strategy, precisely that of dominating the surrounding area. Fiesole was an important center, the hub of commercial exchanges, but which in the Middle Ages came into conflict with the powerful Florence, which destroyed this wonderful village in 1125. But, despite everything, it kept its urban identity intact. The signs of a rich past resurfaced in the 1700s, proclaiming a real rebirth of Fiesole, defined as the second Pompeii. Archaeological excavations have brought to light the remains of the glorious past. A unique place: this is why Fiesole has become a destination for more and more tourists, fascinated and intrigued not only by the history, but also its stunning landscape.

Villa Schifanoia, whose name refers to its leisure nature (its name means literally "Avoiding-boredom") was built over the remains of a farmhouse at the Villa Palmieri. This is beliefed to have been the setting for Bocaccios' Decameron.  The central nucleus, dating to the 15th century, belonged to the Cresci family until 1550, when it was acquired by Bartolomeo di Bate di Zaccheria. Alexandre Dumas sojourned in the villa and dedicated one of his books to it. Today, it hosts a number of events and concerts which represent a great opportunity to visit the area of Fiesole.

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