The Year of Boccaccio

Bocaccio black and white

Many believe Boccaccio was born in June 1313

Giovanni Boccaccio, an esteemed and celebrated poet and author of the Renaissance period, is being honored with a yearlong celebration called Settimo Centenario Della Nascita Di Giovanni Boccaccio. Throughout 2013 this exhibition will take place in Florence, Certaldo, and other various areas in Tuscany. Being the 700th anniversary since Boccaccio’s birth, this is the perfect time to show off  what recent research is discovering and  illuminating about Boccaccio’s life. With programs including food and wine festivals, contemporary art exhibitions, music and theater shows, a literary contest, guided tours, and festivals, 2013 is an excellent year to celebrate Boccaccio.

Why Boccaccio?

Not only supplying Italy with the Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio was more or less of a spiritual ambassador of an unknown equity between man and woman. His writings were most often lined with satire and fortitude that allowed them to thrive during the Renaissance era. Believed to be born in either Florence or Certaldo, Boccaccio lived in Florence with his father, who; was a merchant. But Boccaccio was unhappy with his life and wanted to peruse something immense, so he moved to Naples to apprentice at a bank with his father, but he also began writing poetry. Writing and poetry truly sparked his imagination, and Boccaccio’s life in Naples flourished, leading him to abandon his apprenticeship to focus on creating literary works.


Decameron with two men and two women on a checkered green floor with writing.

The Decameron paved a new way of literature

The ‘Decameron‘ is a 14th century medieval allegory written by Giovanni Boccaccio and told as a frame story with 100 narratives told by ten young people, three male and seven female. While capturing the Renaissance Italy, this book encapsulates tales of wit, life lessons, and tricks but also contains an array of depictions from lewd to tragic. As described in the novel, Florence was suffering during the time of the Black Death, so a group of ten people fled from plague-ridden city to a villa in Fiesole for two weeks. To pass time, every member tells a story each night except for one day on which they complete chores and the holy days when there is no working at night. This results in ten nights of storytelling over the course of two weeks. Thusm by the end, 100 stories are revealed. Over the two weeks of fleeing from the plague, topics are assigned for each day and any tale- good or bad could be told, revealing scandalous and traumatic endings.

Many also believe that Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’ was inspired with a medieval sense of numerical significance. For example, the seven young women are meant to represent the Four Cardinal Virtues, prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude and the Three Theological Virtues, faith, hope and charity. It is also believed that the three men represent the classical Greek division of the soul:  reason, spirit, and appetite. Boccaccio does note himself that pseudonyms were chosen appropriately and admits he was influenced by various literary sources for the creation of the stories told by his characters. Mysterious and enlightening- Boccaccio changed the view of thoughts indignity and gender roles almost creating a affirmative view of these subjects into the world.

Share your love for Boccaccio! 



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