Florence City in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, Europe

Adoration of the Magi see all

Allegory see all

Baptism see all

Baptism of Christ see all

Beheading of John the Baptist see all

Crucifixion see all

Crucifixion of Saint Peter see all

David and Goliath see all

Death of Adonis see all

Deposition from the Cross see all

Entombment see all

Entombment of John the Baptist see all

Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise see all

Fall of Jericho see all

Feast of Herod see all

Holy Family see all

Joseph Sold into Slavery see all

Judith and Holofernes see all

Leda and the Swan see all

Madonna and Child see all

Madonna and Child with St. Anne see all

Maesta see all

Marriage of the Virgin see all

Martyrdom see all

Moses bringing down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai see all

Nativity see all

Penitent Magdalene see all

Preaching of John the Baptist see all

Primavera see all

Rape of the Sabines see all

Reclining Venus see all

Samson and the Philistine see all

The Annunciation see all

The Drunkenness of Noah see all

The Last Supper see all

The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba see all

The Sacrifice of Isaac see all

Venus and Cupid see all


After the death of Otho II., his son, Otho III., was elected Emperor, and crowned by Pope Gregory V., in the year of Christ 979, and this Otho reigned twenty-four years. After that he was crowned, he went into Apulia on pilgrimage to Mount S. Angelo, and afterwards returned by way of France into Germany, leaving Italy in good and peaceful estate. But when he was returned to Germany, Crescentius, the consul and lord of Rome, drave away the said Gregory from the papacy, and set a Greek therein, which was bishop of Piacenza, and very wise; but when the Emperor Otho heard this he was very wrath, and with his army returned to Italy, and besieged in Rome the said Crescentius and his Pope in the castle of S. Angelo, for therein had they taken refuge; and he took the said castle by siege, and caused Crescentius to be beheaded, and Pope John XVI. to have his eyes put out, and his hands cut off; and he restored his Pope Gregory to his chair, which was his kinsman by race; and leaving Rome and Italy in good estate, he returned to his country of Germany, and there-70- died in prosperity. With the said Otho III. there came into Italy the Marquis Hugh; I take it this must have been the marquis of Brandenburg, forasmuch as there is no other marquisate in Germany. His sojourn in Tuscany liked him so well, and especially our city of Florence, that he caused his wife to come thither, and took up his abode in Florence, as vicar of Otho, the Emperor. It came to pass, as it pleased God, that when he was riding to the chase in the country of Bonsollazzo, he lost sight, in the wood, of all his followers, and came out, as he supposed, at a workshop where iron was wont to be wrought. Here he found men, black and deformed, who, in place of iron, seemed to be tormenting men with fire and with hammer, and he asked what this might be: and they answered and said that these were damned souls, and that to similar pains was condemned the soul of the Marquis Hugh by reason of his worldly life, unless he should repent: who, with great fear, commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and when the vision was ended, he remained so pricked in the spirit, that after his return to Florence, he sold all his patrimony in Germany, and commanded that seven monasteries should be founded: the first was the Badia of Florence, to the honour of S. Mary; the second, that of Bonsollazzo, where he beheld the vision; the third was founded at Arezzo; the fourth at Poggibonizzi; the fifth at the Verruca of Pisa; the sixth at the city of Castello; the last was the one at Settimo; and all these abbeys he richly endowed, and lived afterwards with his wife in holy life, and had no son, and died in the city of Florence, on S. Thomas' Day, in the year of Christ 1006, and was buried with great honour in the Badia of Florence. And whilst the said Hugh was-71- living, he made in Florence many knights of the family of the Giandonati, of the Pulci, of the Nerli, of the counts of Gangalandi, and of the family della Bella, which all for love of him, retained and bore his arms, barry, white and red, with divers charges.


Simone dei Conti di Canossa, the first Florentine ancestor of Michelangelo, is made Podestà of Florence.


The Florentine historian Giovanni Villani records the disastrous flood of Florence of 1333, and reports on lengthy discussions which arose afterwards about the destructive power of water, presenting the argument almost in the form of a treatise. By the mysterious thread of tradition, the early discussions may have reached Leonardo (...)


Masaccio and Masolino are commissioned by the powerful and rich Felice Brancacci to execute a cycle of frescoes for the The Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence.


April 16

Lorenzo Ghiberti to Giovanni Turini, goldsmith, of Siena: Jesus Honourable friend, I received your letter the fourteenth day of April and saw therefrom how dear and faithful a friend I have in you, and also that you are well. Also of your good mind toward me, which you have ever displayed; inasmuch that in case of need you would help me to polish one of these stories (reliefs) and would do it willingly: the which I know I can come only of love to me, for the which may God bless you. You must know, dear friend, that the stories are almost completed; one is in the hands of Giuliano di Ser Andrea, the other I have; and they will be finished at the time I promised Messer Bartolomeo; in sooth they would have been finished long since, but for the thanklessness of those, my past companions, from whom I received not one injury, but many. Thanks be to God, I am out of their hands, for which I ever praise God, considering in what freedom I now find myself. Being quite without company, I intend to remain thus, master in my own workshop and able to receive any friend with a good and cheerful countenance. I thank you for your perfect goodwill towards me. And I heartily beg you to commend me to Messer Bartolomeo. Also I beg you heartily to find, if you may, some means by which I may recover the drawings of the birds I lent to Ghoro (dir Ser Neroccio, a goldsmith of Siena). I know that it will be no pains to you to beg Master Domenico, the wood-carver, that he send them back to me, for I hear say that these and all other things that were in the hands of the said Ghoro are now with Master Domenico. Greet him from me, and likewise Master Francesco di Valdambrina: and if there be aught that I can do here, I am always at your pleasure. There is nothing other to say. May Christ keep you in peace. Writ on the sixteenth day of April 1425. By your Lorenzo di Bartolo, goldsmith of Florence, your dear friend


The Medici family seize power in Florence, marking the beginning of a fifty year rule.



March 25

The dedication of the cathedral of Florence was celebrated by Pope Eugenius IV and the papal chapel, then resident in Florence. The Pope's magister capellae (master, or leader, of the chapel) was then Guillaume Dufay, a native of the region of Cambrai in northern France.


December 6

The _operai_ of the Florentine Cathedral stated that in order to improve the level of divine worship there, Ugolino de Giugnis, a canon of the Cathedral, was commissioned to elect "Magister Benotto and his associates who sing at the church of San Giovanni (the Baptistry) to sing Vespers at Santa Maria del Fiore on festive and solemn days." Another document dated the same day mentions writing to Lorenzo de' Medici, "ambassador of Florence to the pope, presently in Ferrara,' so that he could inform the pope of the decision, specifying the number of singers to join Benotto as three.



January 1

Luca Landucci enters the shop of the apothecary Francesco, at the sign of the Scala, in the Mercato Vecchio in Florence.



April 10

There passed through Florence a son of Don Ferante, King of Naples, on his way to Milan to fetch the daughter of the Duke of Milan to be wedded to his brother. This lad was twelve or thirteen years old; he was made much of, and was lodged at Santa Maria Novella. And afterwards he returned through Florence with the bride, accompanied by many signori and dukes, with a large troop of horse; and besides other things, there were so many damsels and matrons in his train that it was magnificent. And at this time a man was found coining false money, and he was beheaded.


January 12

During the night the Arno began to be in flood, although there had not been a drop of rain but the snow had melted suddenly, so that the river entered the town and flooded it as far as the Canto a Monteloro, and benches from the Church of Santa Croce floated across to that point. And the water went into the _Piazza del Grano_, reaching more than half-way up the door of the apothecary's shop and past the _Palagio del Podesta_. The river overflowed its banks opposite Messer Bongianni's houses, and filled the _Prato_ and the Via della Scala. Many mules and horses were drowned in their stables, and all the wine-casks went floating about, mostly towards the Arno. This flood had come suddenly.

September 1

On this day a _parlamento_ (assembly) was held in the Piazza, and there was a great commotion in the city; the shops were closed several times, for fear that they might be looted. Niccolo Soderini, Messer Dietisalvi, and Messer Luca Pitti were exiled, for having been the leaders in the plot against Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, when it was attempted to murder him in his way from Careggi. And after the failure of the plot, many citizens connected with it were exiled, about twenty-seven of them being restricted within certain boundaries and made ineligible for office, according to the sentences inscribed on a document inserted in this book; except Messer Luca Pitti, who made an alliance with Giovanni Tornabuoni, giving him his daughter as wife, and in consequence he was reprieved from exile, and they remained friends and at peace.

November 23

Luca Landucci moves his wife into his own house in Florence.


Leonardo da Vinci is sent to Florence to work as apprentice to Andrea del Verrocchio.


Andrea del Verrocchio is contracted to make a golden ball (palla) to be placed on top of the lantern of Brunelleschi's cupola on the Duomo in Florence.

April 28

At about 15 in the morning (11 a.m.) we had the news that peace(1) was concluded. It was celebrated with bonfires, and the shops were closed. > (1) Alamanno _Rinuccini_ (_Ricordi_, etc. Firenze, 1840), says that the news of the universal peace amongst all the powers of Italy, pronounced by the Pope two days previously, reached Florence at 13 _ore_ (9 a.m.) on the 27th April.


September 23

Six ambassadors left Florence to visit the said Pope; namely: Lorenzo de' Medici, Messer Domenico Martegli, Messer Agnolo della Stuffa, Messer Bongianni Gianfigliazzi, Piero Minerbetti and Donato Acciaiuolo; and the said Pope made Piero Miberbetti a knight and he returned to Florence with this title.


June 18

A knight came to us (from Volterra) with the olive-branch, and an agreement was made, guaranteeing their property and persons. There was much rejoicing. But when the attacking-party entered, one of their constables, a Venetian, began to cry: "Sack it, sack it!" and our men began plundering, and it was impossible to make them observe their agreement. The count had this Venetian hung and also a Sienese. Nevertheless the unfortunate people fared badly. The count came to Florence on the 27th June, 1472; he was given the Patriarch's house, a banner, two basins, two silver ewers, 180 _lire_, and a helmet. He went away on the 1st July, 1473.

November 24


July 18

We heard that our archbishop, who was one of the Neroni of Florence, had died at Rome; and the archbishopric was given to the Cardinal of San Sisti, called Brother Piero.(1) > (1) Piero Riario, nephew of the Pope.


September 25

We received a letter written by Matteo Palmieri, captain of Volterra, which I saw and read; it related the following marvel, namely, that in these days there had been born in Volterra a boy (that is, a monster) which had the head of a bull, and three teeth, with a lump of skin on the head like a horn, and the top of the head was open like a pomegranate, with fiery rays coming out. Its arms were all hairy, and its feet were like a lion's with lion's claws. Its body was of the nature of a female of the human race, but its legs down to the feet were those of a bull like the head. And it lived about three hours. The mother died the fourth day. The midwives and the other women present half died of fried. And this was shown to the said Matteo as a terrible thing. And the said Matteo, captain of Volterra, wrote here to Florence with his own hand; and I copied the said letter in the actual words, neither omitting nor adding anything. And because the said Matteo was my father's intimate friend and my godfather, the letter itself came into my hands, although it was directed to other citizens.


The Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes arrives in Florence, bringing new painterly techniques from Northern Europe which were to profoundly affect Leonardo, Ghirlandaio, Perugino and others.

April 26

At about 15 in the forenoon (11 a.m.) in Santa Maria del Fiore, whilst high mass was being celebrated and the Host elevated, Giuliano, son of Piero, son of Cosimo de' Medici, and Francesco Nori were killed, near the choir of the said church towards the door which goes to the Servi; and Lorenzo de' Medici was wounded in the neck, and fled into the sacristy and escaped. They were killed in consequence of a certain conspiracy made by Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Franceschino de' Pazzi and Guglielmo de' Pazzi, the which Guglielma was he brother-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici, his wife being a sister of theirs, called Bianca. And the sons of Messer Piero de' Pazzi were also there, that is, Andrea and Renato and Niccolo; and of the house of Salviati, there were Francesco, Bishop of Pisa, and Jacopo Salviati, who was son-in-law to Filippo Tornabuoni, and another Jacopo also a Salviati, and Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, Bracciolini and Bernardo Bandini of the house of Baroncegli, and Amerigo Corsi, and many others. The conspirators brought Cardinal di San Giorgio(1) here, who was a young man; he entered Florence on the day above-mentioned, and they all came together in Santa Maria del Fiore, and, as I have said, at the elevation of the Host seized their swords, and it is said that Francesco de' Pazzi struck Giuliano, and Bandini the other. And having killed Giuliano they wanted to kill Lorenzo, but did not succeed, as he fled into the sacristy. Meantime the Bishop de' Salviati, with Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, and two of his relatives who were both called Jacopo, went to the Palagio, with several priests, feigning to desire to speak to the Signoria, and they spoke to the Gonfaloniere, and became somewhat confused. The Gonfaloniere perceived the treachery, and he and his companions shut themslves up here and there, and ordered the doors to be closed, and the bell run for a parlamento. And what with the rumour which came from Santa Maria del Fiore of Giuliano's death and the bell ringing at the Palagio, the city was immediately in arms. And Lorenzo de' Medici was taken to his house. Meantime Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi rushed on horseback to the Piazza de' Signori, crying "_Popolo e liberta!_" (The People and Liberty!), wishing to take the Palagio, but the bishop not having succeeded in getting possession of it, Messer Jacopo was not able to enter. He then went towards his own house, and was advised to take to flight; and he fled by the Porta all Croce, together with many men-at-arms, in the Piazza and at Lorenzo de' Medici's house. And numbers of men on the side of the conspirators were killed in the Piazza; amongst others a priest of the bishop's was killed there, his body being quartered and the head cut off, and then the head was stuck on the top of a lance, and carried about Florence the whole day, and one quarter of his body was carried on a spit all through the city, with the cry of: "Death to the traitors!" That same evening the cardinal was taken to the Palagio, barely escaping with his life, all his companions being captured without exception. And the bishop remained in the Palagio with all the rest. And that evening they hung Jacopo, son of Messer Poggio, from the windows of the Palagio de' Signori, and likewise the Bishop of Pisa, and Franceschino de' Pazzi, naked; and about twenty men besides, some at the Palagio de' Signori, and others at the Palagio dell Podesta and at the Casa del Capitano, all at the windows. The next day (the 27th) they hung Jacopo Salviati, son-in-law of Filippo Tornabuoni, and the other Jacopo, also at the windows, and many others of the households of the cardinals and of the bishop. And the day after that (the 28th April, 1478), Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi was captured at Belforte. And that evening of the 28th, about 23 in the evening (7 p.m.), Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi and Renato de' Pazzi were hung at the windows of the Palagio de'' Signori, above the _ringhiera_(2); and so many of their men with them, that during these three days the number of those killed amounted to more than seventy. The cardinal remained a prisoner of the Palagio, and no harm was done him, except that he was made to write to the Holy Father, with his own hand, all that had happened. And the same day the prisoners in the _Stinche_(3) managed to break open the prison, and all escaped - with the exception of one unfortunate man who was captured and hung. > (1) Rafaello Riario. > > (2) The _ringhiera_ was the platform consisting in three steps and railing, which used to be round the _Palagio_ (Palazzo Vecchio) on the front and on the north. It was used for haranguing the people and was only demolished in 1812, when the present steps and platform replaced it. (Trans.) > > (3) The _Stinche_ were the old prisons, which formed a large rectangular mass between the Via del Diluvio (now Via del Fosso), the Via del Palagio (now Via Ghibellina), the Via del Mercatino, and the Via de' Lavatoi. The exterior walls were extremely high, and windowless. The name was derived from that of a fortress which had rebelled against Florence at the beginning of the fifteenth century, and which the Florentines retook, bringing the prisoners back as a trophy. Originally intended for traitors and revels, these prisons were used afterwards for various purposes, even for madmen; whilst later on debtors and bankrupts were confined there, and others with life-sentences. In 1835, under the Grand-duke Leopold, it was decreed that they should be sold, and shops and houses were built on the area; also the large hall, called _Filamonica_, and riding-school, afterwards replaced by the Pagliani theatre, now called the Verdi. (Trans.)

August 15

Four of the city gates in Florence were closed; the first was Porta San Miniato, the second was the Porta all Giustizia, the third Porta Pinti(1), and the fourth the Porticciuola della Mulina (of the Mill).(2) > (1) The _Porta a Pinti_, demolished with the walls in 1866, was at the end of the Borgo Pinti, and was a very picturesque gate, with a group of old cypresses. (Trans.) > > (2) The _Porticciuola della Mulina_ was near the Prato, down by the river, leading to the _Mulina_ (Mill) of the _Vagaloggia_. It was sometimes called Pirticciuola del Prato. The three last gates were taken down when the walls were demolished. (Trans.)



March 25

The Holy Father gave a plenary indulgence in Santa Maria del Fiore for one day, from vespers on the 24th March till the next vespers, on the 25th March, which people availed themselves of with great devotion. The Cause of this was the preaching of Brother Antonio da Vergiegli in Santa Maria del Fiore during Lent, which bore good fruit. On this same 25th March, a law was determined upon at the Palagio, which forbade anyone who had killed a man to return to Florence(1). > (1) The provision is of the 16th March, 1478, Old Style, and perhaps the 25th is the day on which it was published. It was made to limit the concession of safe-conducts, and the causes which led to it may be read in the exordium which I have pleasure in publishing as a document which describes the way of thinking at that time. > "The high and magnificent _Signori_ having in mind how grave is the sin of homicide, by which man, a creature made and created in the image of God, is destroyed; and seeking the reasons why it is so very frequent under our jurisdiction; find among other things that it is encouraged by the facility of pardon and roper severity not being used in punishing such a detestable and abominable excess, he who commits the homicide being allowed to be continually in the presence of those who have suffered from the offence and of those who desire to live virtuously; none of whom can regard such manslayers without great indignation and perturbation of mind. And although the laws of the Florentine people bitterly avenge and punish such crimes, and give security against them; notwithstanding, whatever may be the reason, either too great humanity (which in reality one ought to call cruelty), or else undisciplined charity, such entirely right and just decrees are not properly observed. And the high _Signori_ and discreet chief citizens wish to remedy these things which are so contrary to honest living and against divine laws, by making the fear of pubishment deter men from committing them, when they are deprived of all hope of pardon, and by adjuring the magistrates not only not to overlook such things, but to enforce the law with severity, hoping firmly that this provision may hav ea good effect" (State Archives of Florence, _Consigli maggiori Provv. Reg. ad annum_). > > The term "_Signori e Collegi_" used in the decrees meant as follows: the Signori were the eight _Priori_ and the _Gonfaloniere della Giustizia_, and the _Collegi_ were the sixteen _Gonfalonieri della Compagnie_ and the twelve men (three from each quarter) formerly called the twelve _Buonuomini_, who were summoned by the _Signori_ to take council on almost every occasion. (Trans.)

May 9

Ambassadors came to Florence from the Pope; and finally, after a few days, they were sent away again without our having consented to give up the cardinal, whom they had wished to take back with them. And at this time many armed men were placed in the Piazza, and a patrol of _birri_ (sergeants) paraded the city day and night and the city-guards all night. No one went out after one o'clock (9 p.m.), whatever class he belonged to; not a sound was heard in the city at night; and no one carried arms at any time.

May 17

At about 20 in the evening (4 p.m.), some boys disinterred it (the body of Messer Jacopo) a second time, and dragged it through Florence by the piece of rope that was still round its neck; and when they came to the door of his house, they tied the rope to the door-bell, saying: "Knock at the door!" and they made great sport all through the town. And when they grew tired and did not know what more to do with it, they went to the Ponte al Rubiconte and threw it into the river.(1) And they sang a song with certain rhymes, amongst others this line: "Messer Jacopo is floating away down the Arno." And it was considered an extraordinary thing, first because children are usually afraid of dead bodies, and secondly because the stench was so bad that it was impossible to go near it; one may imagine what it was like, from the 27th April till the 17th May! And they must have had to touch with with their hands to throw it into the Arno. And as it floated down the river, always keeping above the surface, the bridges were crowded with people to watch it pass. And another day, down towards Brozzi, the boys pulled it out of the water again, and hung it on a willow, and then the beat it, and threw it back into the Arno. And it is said that it was seen to pass under the bridges of Pisa, always above the surface. > (1) History says that the magistrates had the body thrown into the Arno, to put a stop to the boys' treatment of it. (Trans.)

June 7

He (Cardinal di San Giorgio) was accompanied by the "Eight"(1) and many citizens from the Palagio to the Nunziata; and he was in dread of being killed by the populace. That same day the Pope excommunicated us. > (1) These were the _Otto di Guardia e Balia_, at this time at the height of their power. (Trans.)

June 12

The cardinal (Cardinal di San Giorgio) left Florence.

July 2

An ambassador came to Florence from the King of France.

July 13

The King of Naples sent a herald to Florence, with the proclamation displayed, stamped with the arms of the king, and he went to the Signoria to declare war, being deputed to tell us that the king and the Holy Father were ready to oblige us in every way, if we sent away Lorenzo de' Medici: to which the citizens would not agree, and so war began.

July 19

The Sienese invaded our territory and took booty and prisoners, and on the 22nd they captured Calciano.

July 23

They (the Sienese) captured Rincine and destroyed it, and took away men and women of all classes; and our soldiers were worse than they, pillaging and working great havoc through Valdelsa, so that everyone left their homes and felt safe nowhere but in Florence. Each day there was some incursion or other, and the enemy overran Panzano, pillaging and burning.

August 21

A commissary came to us from Venice, who hired for us 3 thousand soldiers, to be paid by the Venetians.

August 24

The people about Rovezzano took fright, and the alarm was sounded and they fled into Florence with all their possessions, by the _Porta alla Croce_, so that it really seemed as if the territory were lost. Such a terror were never seen, everyone being utterly dismayed. They did not consider themselves safe even in Florence, and suffered much discomfort and misery. And on the same day we last Radda, which was sacked and burnt.

August 24

The enemy (the Sienese) made an incursion as far as Ponte a Grassina, carrying off a smith and many others.

September 7

(Monday). Our _Capitano_, the Marchese di Ferrara, came to Florence, arriving at about 22 in the evening (6 p.m.), with a great company of crossbowmen on horseback, and musketeers, and we escorted him into the city with great honour, lodging him in the same house which he had before. He had about 50 mules laden with baggage, and remained in Florence till Saturday, the 12th, when he took his baton and went into camp.

October 6

Six Sienese were arrested here, one of them being the _Podesta_ of Castelnuovo, which had been regained. And at this time there were about 100 sick of the plague, at the hospital of La Scala, and in many houses of Florence; amongst others a man was found dead upon one of the benches in Santa Maria Novella.


January 10

Four French ambassadors arrived at Florence, two of whom were going to the Pope and two to the King of Naples. They declared to the Signoria here, that they were going to make peace in Italy amongst Christians, and to settle all differences, giving judgement according to reason, and protested that their king would proceed against anyone who hindered peace; if the Pope were the one to be obdurate, he would be summoned to a Council; and when peace had been made, all the powers would undertake a crusade against the Unbelievers. They left on the 16th January.

April 18

The plague had increased to such an extent that I went away to my villa at Dicomano with all my family; leaving my apprentices to attend to the shop. At this time Count Carlo came to Florence, and was appointed a Capitano, and two separate camps were formed, he going into the Perugian territory and defeating the papal troops, which departed utterly routed. And after this the ducal forces(1) could have been broken up; but through the fault of our Capitano, the Duke of Ferrara, and through the dissensions amongst the citizens, no action was taken, or else the enemy would certainly have been conquered. The Duke of Calabria pitched his camp before Colle. People continually deceive us, and we cannot be victorious, as God punishes us for our sins.

November 8

At midnight the alarm was rung in the Mugello, and everyone was overwhelmed with terror, wanting to rush to Florence. But the enemy came to Piancandoli, and did not enter the Mugello.

December 6

Lorenzo de' Medici left Florence and went to the king at Naples.

December 23

Bernardo Bandini de' Baroncegli was captured at Constantinople, the Grand Turk having given him up. He had fled from Florence when Giuliano de' Medici was murdered, believing that his life would be safe at Constantinople. News arrived that the Duke of Calabria had taken possession of Siena, but it was not true. However, to all intents and purposes, he was master of the place, for the Sienese were helpless, having left him come in with all his troops, and he did what he chose.


March 15

He (Lorenzo de' Medici) arrived in Florence at 21 in the afternoon (5 p.m.).

March 22

The city gates, which had been shut shortly before, were re-opened.

March 25

Peace was proclaimed, and the image of Our Lady of _Santa Maria Impruneta_ was brought to Florence for the fete.

April 28

Messer Piero Vespucci(1) was liberated from prison, and left Florence, and went to the Duke of Calabria at Siena and stopped there. At this time it was noised abroad that the Pope had made a league with the Venetians, the Sienese, and the Duke of Urbino.(2) It was not true. > (1) The Duke of Calabria, and his father King Ferdinand, had made urgent solicitations in favour of Vespucci. > > (2) Federigo di Montefeltro.

June 2

June 3

Messer Piero Vespucci was permitted to return to Florence, and was restituted in all his rights, according to the wish of the duke.(1) At this time the price of grain fell to 15 _soldi_ the bushel, and the like low prices. > (1) He, however, preferred leaving Tuscany, and went to offer his services to the Sforza in Milan, and was appointed Ducal Councillor by Ludovico il Moro. Sent to exercise his authority at the city of Alessandria, he met with a tragic end, being killed in 1485 in a popular rising.

August 18

A cardinal,(1) one of the king's sons, arrived in Florence, on his way from Hungary to Rome. > (1) Giovanni d'Aragona.

September 2

Two silk-mercers' shops in _Porta Santa Maria_, near _Vacchereccia_(1) were burnt down; and the other night the whole _Canto di Vacchereccia_ as far as the _Chiassolino del Buco_ was burnt down.(2) And the fire rushed across to the opposite side of the street and burnt down all the other corner of the _Vacchereccia_, destroying about 20 shops of the silk-mercers and money-changers. There was great loss, many having all their property consumed. And at this time there was much talk about the loss of Otranto, and Leccio was feared for. > (1) The street still so called, between _Via Por San Maria_ and the Piazza, named after the tower of the _Vacca_, belonging to the old _Casa del Foraboschi_, and forming the lower-portion of the present tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. (Trans.)

October 27

Cosimo Rosselli leaves Florence for Rome, together with other Florentine painters, where he has been called as part of the reconciliation project between Lorenzo de' Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence, and Pope Sixtus IV. The Florentines start to work in the The Sistine Chapel as early as the Spring of 1481, along with Perugino, who is already there.

December 5

The Cardinal of Mantua(1) passed through Florence, on his way from Mantua to Rome. > (1) Francesco Gonzaga.


February 6

There was an earthquake (in Florence) at about half-past 4 (12.30 at night), but not a very severe one.

March 31

The fortresses of Colle, Poggibonizi, Monte a Sansovino, and Poggio Imperiale were restituted to us, together with other places, except the Castellina, Montedomenici, Piancaldoli, and Sarzana. The plague was now decreasing.

June 8

The _Porta a Faenza_(1) was closed, because the plague was very bad outside this gate, and was in three or four houses in Florence. > (1) This gate, which was on the _Prato_, was demolished when the Fortezza di Basso was built, or rather, it was built into the keep of the fort. (Trans.)

August 4

Twelve men were appointed, and given powers to act for the whole people of Florence. The first thing they did was to decree that whoever owed the commune anything should pay three florins interest on each florin lent.


Instead of returning to Bologna to resume his studies, Girolamo Savonarola is assigned as lector, or teacher, in the Convent of San Marco in Florence.

March 14

A chancellor of Count Girolamo was hung at the windows of the Bargello. He had been captured by one of the Altoviti,(1) who was a proscribed rebel, and in order to be pardoned, found out this man, and caught him between Piombino and Pisa; and he won his pardon. > (1) This must have been the famous Cola Montano, a Bolognese; not a chancellor, but maintained by Count Girolamo Riario, and the Pope, and the King of Naples, and all the enemies of Florence, during the war following the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. That he was taken by one of the Altoviti is not mentioned elsewhere. Brought to Florence, he was put in the prison of the Bargello or Captain of the Piazza dei Signori; where he wrote with his own hand a _Confessione_, which is preserved in the State Archives of Florence, amongst the _Carte Strozziane_, still unedited, but well worth publishing, as important contributions to the history of that time. The order of the Signori e Collegi to the Otto di Custodia e Balia, of the 12th March, for the execution of Montano, still exist in the said archives amongst the papers of these magistrates. (Trans.)

June 12

Signor Gostanzo came to Florence, on his return from Ferrara. At this time there was much talk of the worship of an image of Our Lady at Bibbona, or rather in a tabernacle about a bowshot from Bibbona. It is, namely, a Virgin seated and holding the dead Christ in her arms, after He has been taken down from the Cross; which is called by some a _Pieta_. This worship began on the 5th April, when it was transfigured: that is, it changed from blue to red, and from red to black and divers colours. And this is said to have happened many times between then and now, and a number of sick persons have been cured, and a number of miracles have been performed, and quarrels reconciled; so that all the world is running there. Nothing else is talked of at this moment; I have spoken to many who tell me that they themselves have seen it transfigured, so that one must perforce believe it.

August 27

Many people here saw fiery flames in the air above Florence, towards the west, at about one o'clock (9 p.m.); and they were also seen at Dicomano and elsewhere.

December 24

The Cardinal of Mantua, papal legate, came to Florence on his way to Ferrara. He was received with all due honour.


January 5

The Duke of Calabria came to Florence, leaving again on the 8th for Ferrara, and taking 800 horsemen with him; amongst his force were many Turks(1). He was received with great honour. > (1) Taken into his pay after the recapture of Otranto.

February 6

Some of the Turks whom the duke was sending back, passed through. As 400 of them had deserted to the Venetians, he thought it best to send back the remainder; and we raised a Christian brigade for him here in Florence.

February 12

Lorenzo de' Medici left Florence, going as ambassador to Ferrara, in very fine array.(1) > (1) To the diet which was held there, to treat of negotiations with regard to the war.

April 1

At Siena, four men were thrown out of the windows of the _Palazzo de' Signori_, and six more were hung, who belonged to the Monte de' Nove(1); and many citizens fled into Florentine territory. > (1) A certain political party at Siena.

April 6

The Turkish ambassador came to Florence.


It rained in Florence for practically the whole month.

May 30

Our Lady of Impruneta was brought into the city, for the sake of obtaining fine weather, as it had rained for more than a month. And it immediately became fine.

September 7

Ambassadors came to Florence from the King of France, on their way to Rome to arrange peace in Italy; and whilst they were here they received the news that their king had died on the 30th May, 1483. And on the 13th September one of these ambassadors died at Santa Maria Novella, and the others set out for Rome. During these days, for fear of hunger and of the war going on in Lombardy, many families left it, and there passed through Florence on their way into Roman territory 50 to 100 at a time, till they amounted to several thousands. Many also went to Romagna and elsewhere. It was said that there were more than 30 thousand persons altogether. It was a most pitiful sight to see these poor people pass, with a wretched little donkey, and their miserable household possessions: saucepans, frying-pans, etc. One wept to see them barefoot and ragged; and it is the cursed wars which have caused all these. No one went by without receiving some little help from us.

October 23

A cardinal-legate came to Florence, who was going to the King of France as ambassador, to confirm to him his father's crown. And this cardinal chanced to be the very man whom the last King of France(1) had kept for many years in prison, in a cage. > (1) Louis XI. The name of the cardinal was Jean Balue, whom Louis XI. had persuaded Pope Paul II. to make a cardinal; and later, for political reasons, he had imprisoned him in an iron cage, from which he was liberated in 1481 through the intercession of Pope Sixtus IV. (Trans.)

November 10

Three Florentine ambassadors left Florence, being sent to the King of France; they were Messer Gentile, Bishop of Arezzo, and Antonio Canigiani, and Lorenzo, son of Piero de' Medici.


September 8

The Peace was published in Florence, and there were rejoicings.

November 6

Antonio Pucci, a commissary of Pietrasanta, was brought back dead to Florence.

November 7

We captured Pietrasanta, which capitulated to Lorenzo de' Medici, and on the 11th we took the fortress. Piero, son of Filippo Tornabuoni, was made warden, and Jacopo Acciauoli commissary; Jacopo Acciauoli being put in command of the walls. The news reached here at 14 at night (10 p.m.), and the next day the shops remained closed, and there were great rejoicings and bonfires. And the same day Messer Bongianni Gianfigliazzi, another commissary there, was brought back to Florence dead.


April 18

A herald came to Florence.

December 11

There came a certain hot wind from the south, as if it were July, and all the walls of the houses dripped inside, all over Florence, even in the living-rooms, although they had been quite dry. And in these days of February and March, soldiers were continually being hired, to send to the Duke (of Calabria), who was fighting against the papal forces; so that everyone in Florence who had taken part against the Church was excommunicated. All intelligent people wondered that anyone should go against the Church, especially as it had nothing to do with us. However, this mistaken conduct was the result of our sins and of our not fearing God.


May 9

Here in the Piazza de' Tornaquinci, by the house of the Tornabuoni, it happened that a bear of an extraordinary size, bred up in this city, being tormented by some children, seized a little girl of about six years old, a daughter of Giovacchino Berardi, by the throat, and it was with great difficulty that several men freed her, covered with blood and with her throat badly torn. But, thank God! she did not die.


March 28

The following case happened: A man was hung on the gallows here in Florence, and was taken down for dead, but was later found not to be so. He was carried to Santa Maria Nuova (hospital), and remained there till the 11th April. And those in charge at Santa Maria Nuova finding him of a bad nature, and hearing him talk of taking vengeance, etc., the "Eight" decided to have him hung a second time, and their sentence was carried out.

June 22

Sarzana was captured at 12 in the morning (8 a.m.). We had the news of it here at 20 in the evening (4 p.m.).

November 11

Certain animals arrived here, which were supposed to have been sent by the sultan; afterwards we heard, however, that they came from some good friends of Florence, who hoped to be duly rewarded. The animals were as follows: A very tall giraffe, beautiful and graceful; her picture can be seen painted in many parts of Florence, as she lived here for many years. Also a large lion, a goat, and some very strange wethers.

November 11

Two Venetian ambassadors passed through here on their way to Rome.


Michelangelo's first years in Florence were marked by his apprenticeship to Ghirlandaio and the patronage of the Medici.

April 16

We heard that Count Girolamo, Signore of Imola, had been stabbed to death, in the city of Forli, by some men of the place; and it proved to be true. A number of soldiers and militia were sent from here to Piancaldoli, men of the Romagnuoli and of the Mugello; so that by the 29th we took it. The commandant of the fortress, who was from Imola, capitulated; and he was given 4 thousand florins and a house, and the right of bearing arms for life, here in Florence, where he remained.


July 21

They began to build the walls upon the aforesaid foundations. And at this time the following buildings were erected: The _Osservanza di San Miniato de' Frati di San Francesco_(1); the sacristy of _Santo Spirito_; the house of Giulio Gondi(2); and the church of the _Frati di Sant' Agonstino_,(3) outside the _Porta a San Gallo_. And Lorenzo de' Medici began a palace at the _Poggio a Caiano_, on his property, where so much has been beautifully ordered, the _Cascine_, etc. Princely things! At Sarrezana a fortress was built; and many other houses were erected in Florence: in the street which goes to Santa Caterina, and towards the _Porta a Pinti_, and the _Via Nuova de' Servi_, at Cestello,(4) and from the _Porta a Faenza_(5) towards San Barnaba, and towards Sant' Ambrogio, and elsewhere. Men were crazy about building at this time, so that there was a scarcity of master-builders and of materials.(6) > (1) The monastery (lately built near San Miniato) of the _Osservanza_, a Franciscan Order, who already had one at Fiesole. (Trans.) > > (2) In our days we have just seen this palace completed on its southern side, thanks to the care of its owner. In finishing this work the remains of the house opposite in _Via de' Gondi_ were demolished; this used to be the _Casa della Dogana_, and in still older times the _Casa delle Prestanze_, that Giuliano Gondi bought from the _Arte della Lana_ (Guild of Wool) to use in his building, and in it Leonardo da Vinci lived as a boy, a fact which I was the first to prove in July 1872. > > (3) _Chiesa di Sant' Agonstino_. In the siege of 1529 it was demolished together with the convent which was united to it. They occupied almost the same area as the _parterre_ and oratory of the _Madonna delle Tosse_. The monks were moved into the city, where they were given the church of _S. Jacopo tra' Fossi_. > > (4) _Cestello_ was at that time the name of the present convent of _S. Maria Maddalena_ in Borgo Pinto, which belonged to the Cistercians. In 1628 they exchanged it for that of the nuns of _S. Maria degli Angeli_ of Borgo S. Frediano, still called _S. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi_. > > (5) See note to 8th June, 1481. > > (6) In May 1489 the Signoria, desirous of providing for the beauty of the city, and for the wants and convenience of those who might wish to inhabit it, granted an exemption for forty years from any tax for those new houses which should be built within five years "in places where there was no house or any beginning of one." In March 1494 this term was prolonged to the end of the year 1497.


January 17

This night there began, and continued until the 18th, a certain fine rain, which froze whilst it fell, and made icicles upon the trees. There was such a quantity of it, that the weight bowed the trees down to the ground and broke the branches. Note, by the way, that this was on the hills. For about half a mile near the river it did no injury. It began at Fiesole, and extended to the Mugello; and at San Godenzo and Dicomano it did much harm. On my land at Dicomano it tore from the roots several chestnut-trees and oak-trees, and broke nearly all the branches of the olive-trees and every other kind of wood, so that at one of my farms the branches alone made twenty piles of wood; and some of the broken limbs of the chestnuts were more than two feet thick, such as was never seen before. Those who chanced to be in the woods, thought that the world was coming to an end, when they heard everything cracking, and the deafening noise overhead. There was such a heap of grass that it weighed several pounds; and the stubble of the corn in the fields looked like organ-pipes. The stacks appeared to be roofed with glass, and it was too dangerous for anyone to walk in the country. The farms were ruined for many years, the fruit-trees not bearing fruit, the olives remaining like suckers, and the oak-trees being all spoilt. It was incredible, but true. The Arno rose very high, and ruined the mill of the _Ponte a Rubiconte_, next to Santa Maria delle Grazie, and a porter was drowned there. The mill was a spinning-mill. The river overflowed its banks in several places.

May 1

The coinage was changed: that is, silver coins began to be used; and it was decided that the _grossone_ should be worth 16 _quattrini_ and a half, like the old silver ones. All the taxes were to be paid in silver, which meant a little increase to the people, as a quarter more had to be paid, when there was need, on the contrary, to relieve them. This increase was made by divine permission, on account of our sins; because the poor are generally worse than the rich and great. Praise be to God! This same day they began a causeway between the Loggia de' Signori and the Palagio, so high that one could walk on a level from the door of the Palagio into the Loggia; with steps leading towards San Piero Scheraggio(1) and towards the Piazza, so that neither horses nor any other animals could pass there any longer. It was also rather inconvenient for people, having to go up and down again. Some persons liked this causeway, and others not; I myself did not care for it much. > (1) This church was one of the oldest in Florence; it was in the form of a basilica, its interior somewhat resembling _San Miniato al Monte_. Many political meetings were held in it. The Florentines hung the "Caroccio" of Fiesole on the marble facade (afterwards copied in marble, but destroyed with the rest of the church)l and tradition says that the ancient marble pulpit or ambone was also from Fiesole. This pulpit, when the church was suppressed, was given to the little church of San Leonardo in Arcetri, which was connected with San Piero Scheraggio, and it can still be seen there. The north wing of San Piero was demolished first, to widen the street between it and the Palazzo Vecchio (this street is named after the Capella delle Ninne), and the south wing was also closed, the central aisle being still used for service till the year 1560 when the church, chapter-house and loggia were all demolished to make place for the Uffizi. (Trans.)


January 5

The Spaniards quartered here in Florence made great rejoicings and lighted bonfires, because they heard that their king had conquered the whole of Granada, and had driven out all the Moors who were there. This was not only a beneficial and glorious thing for Spain, but also a beneficial and glorious thing for us and for all Christians, and for the Holy Church. Good and faithful people considered it a great acquisition for the faith of Christ, and the first step towards winning the Levant and Jerusalem from the Unbelievers.

March 10

Lorenzo's son, the cardinal, received the hat from the Pope.(1) It was given him at the Badia on the way to Fiesole (i.e. at San Domenico), and many citizens went out to meet him when he came into Florence to visit the Signoria; and the next day he went to hear mass in Santa Maria del Fiore. And on this day the Signoria presented him with 30 loads of gifts carried by porters, being silver plate, and basins, and ewers, and dishes, and all the silver utensils that can possibly be used by a great lord. According to what was said, they were estimated at more than 20 thousand florins, although that seems impossible to me; but it was public report, and therefore I set it down. It was certainly a rich and magnificent gift. Praise be to God! > (1) When he had been made cardinal in 1488 he had not received the insignia, being only thirteen years old.

April 8

Lorenzo de' Medici died on his estate at Careggi; and it was said that when he heard the news of the effects of the thunderbolt, being so ill, he asked where it had fallen, and on which side; and when he was told, he said: "Alas! I shall die, because it fell towards my house." This may not have been so, but it was commonly reported. And they brought him to Florence the same night, at 5 in the morning (1 a.m.), and put him in the monastery at San Marco; and he remained there the whole of the next day, which was a Monday. And on the 10th April, Tuesday, he was buried at San Lorenzo at about 20 in the evening (4.pm.). Well may we consider what a transitory thing is human life! This man, in the eyes of the world, was the most illustrious, the richest, the most stately, and the most renowned among men. Everyone declared that he ruled Italy; and in very truth he was possessed of great wisdom, and all his undertakings prospered. He had succeeded in doing what no citizen had been able to do for a long time: namely, in getting his son appointed cardinal; which was not only an honour for his house, but for the whole city. In spite of all this, however, he could not live one hour longer when the end came. Then, O man, man, what hast thou to be proud of? True humility is the fit human attribute, and each time that we grow proud, and esteem ourselves above others, failing to recognise that every spiritual, corporal and temporal good comes from God, we exceed the proper limits of humanity. Everything that exceeds its limit is evil, and those things which should be good, turn to ill. The desirable quality for man is true gentleness and humility, and always to esteem God. Man is naught, if not what God has made him; to whom be praise from all creatures, as is His due. May He pardon me my sins! And may He pardon the sins of the dead man, as I trust He may pardon me and all human beings!


January 20

The Day of San Bastiano (St. Sebastian); there was the severest snowstorm in Florence that the oldest people living could remember. And amongst other extraordinary things, it was accompanied by such a violent wind that for the whole day it was impossible to open the shops, or the doors and windows. It last from the _Ave Maria_ one morning to the _Ave Maria_ the next morning, twenty-four hours, without ceasing for a minute, and without the wind abating, so that there was not the slightest crack or a hole, however small, that did not let a heap of snow into the house. In fact there was not a house so hermetically sealed as not to become so full of snow that it took several days to clear it out. All along the streets one saw heaps of snow, so that in many places neither men nor beasts could pass. There was such a quantity that it took a long time to melt away, as sometimes when boys make a snow-lion. In fact, these mountains lasted a week. It is difficult to believe without having seen it. And the same thing happened in my villa at Dicomano. I sent Benedetto to clear the house, and he found as much snow inside as if it had been roofless; and this was after a week. So it was everywhere alike.

May 20

A Sunday; the Cardinal de' Medici returned to Florence.

August 17

It happened that a certain unbeliever, to spite the Christians, but mostly out of folly, went about Florence disfiguring the images of Our Lady, and amongst others, that which is on the pilaster of Orto San Michele, outside. He scratched the eyes of the Child, and of San Nofri (Onophrius), and threw mud in the face of Our Lady.(1) On this account, the boys began to throw stones at him, and they were joined by grown men, who in their fury stoned him to death with great stones, and then dragged his body about with much vituperation. > (1) This statue of the Virgin is by Mina da Fiesole, who made it for the Doctors and Apothecaries' Guild, whose arms were the Virgin and Child in an archway. After this act of desecration it was removed to the interior of the church for a time, and then placed outside again, when it obtained the reputation of working so many miracles that great crowds used to gather in front of it, till it was taken back into the interior of the church in the time of Cosimo I. Now, in the year 1926, it has one more been placed outside, in a niche on the south side. Formerly it used to stand in the niche now occupied by the copy of Donatello's San Giorgio, and therefor next to the group of Four Saints, one of whom is Saint Onophrius. (Trans.)

December 20

This Tommaso Minerbetti returned (to Florence), having been knighted by the Pope.


January 20

There is a heavy fall of snow in Florence, and Pietro de' Medici sends for the young Michelangelo to model a colossal snow-man in the courtyard of his palace.

May 4

Four French ambassadors entered Florence. They were lodged in the house which formerly belonged to Messer Jacopo de' Pazzi.

May 5

They went to the Signoria, and having set forth the matters entrusted to them, receive a reply. On the 7th they left, and went to Rome.(1) > (1) During their sojourn in Florence they were served with the silver plate of the Signoria; and to do them honour, the musicians of the _Signoria_ were sent to play before them.

May 19

Our Lady of _Santa Maria Impruneta_ was brought into the city, in hopes that the rain might cease: and our prayers were granted.(1) > (1) It was decreed on the 13th of the same month that this image should be brought, and on the 14th some of the Collegi were chosen and charged with making suitable arrangements.

June 10

The Arno overflowed its banks, and many cornfields were inundated, much damage being caused both above and below Florence. It was the worst flood within anyone's recollection, and began in the evening. The corn, which was almost ripe, suffered greatly.

July 10

The French ambassadors returned from Rome; one of them remaining in Florence. In these days the fleet of the King of Naples came to the Port of Pisa, and besieged Spezia and Porto Venere.

October 4

More ambassadors from the King of France came to Florence, and going to the Signoria, could not obtain a decisive answer but only a vague one; so that on the 9th they both left Florence in indignation, and returned to the king without a safe-conduct. It was then said that the king swore to let his soldiers pillage Florence; and everyone thought it had been a piece of folly and rashness not to give the safe-conduct readily.

October 26

Piero de' Medici left here to go on the way to Pisa, to meet the King of France; and when he reached the king, he caused the keys of Serezzano and of Pietrasanta to be given him, and also made him promises of money. The king wishing to know whether in truth he had been given this commission, sent Lorenzo, son of Giovanni Tornabuoni, who had gone with Piero de' Medici, back to Florence, to get it confirmed by the Signoria; but they refused to confirm it. Lorenzo, in some consternation, did not return to the French camp, and Piero was rather at fault. He acted like a young fellow, and perhaps with good results, since we remained friends with the king, thank God!


Pietro de' Medici along with the rest of the Medici family is banished from Florence.

November 5

Certain messengers of the King of France arrived and went about Florence marking the houses which they preferred. They came indoors and entered all the rooms, marking one for such and such a lord, and another for such and such a baron. And observe that there were not hundreds but thousands of the French, so that the whole city was occupied in every corner; for those houses that were not marked were occupied in a moment when the men-at-arms and the infantry arrived, going into every street, and saying: _Apri qua_! (Open there!) and not caring whether the owners were rich or poor. They gave it to be understood that they meant to pay: but there were not many who paid. And when they did pay a certain amount, _they paid for the horns and ate the ox_ (Italian proverb): "They didn't pay anything like what they cost." Few of us had sent away our womenkind, except the young girls, who were sent to convents and to relatives where no soldiers were quartered; but the French were really very well-behaved, for there was not a single one who said an unsuitable word to a woman. In their hearts they felt a secret dread, and kept asking how many men Florence could dispose of; and they were told that at the sound of a bell the city would have 100 thousand men from within and without at her command. The truth was this: that they had come with the idea of sacking Florence, as their king had promised them but they could not see the game begun, much less won. And all this was the doing of the Almighty. On this same day, five ambassadors were chosen to go to the King of France, who was at Pisa. They were as follows: First, Fra Girolamo, a preacher of the Order of San Domenico, dwelling at San Marco, a native of Ferrara; whom we believe to be a prophet, and he does not deny it in his sermons, but always says _da parte del Signore_ (I have it from the Lord . . .), and he preaches on important subjects. The second, Tanai de' Nerli; the third, Pandolfo Rucellai; the fourth, Giovanni Cavalcanti; and the fifth, Piero Soderini; all Florentine citizens. And they left the next day. On the same day a number of French arrived, who were the vanguard of the king, and lodged in the houses assigned to them, which were marked with chalk. This evening at about 2 o'clock (10 p.m.) a few strokes of the bell were heard from the Palagio; and immediately the Piazza was full of men, it being thought that a _portamento_ was going to be summoned, for everyone was excited and distrustful, continually expecting great events.

November 8

Piero de' Medici returned to Florence, coming from the King of France, who was at Pisa; and when he reached his house, he threw out _confetti_ (sweetmeats), and gave a lot of wine to the people, to make himself popular; declaring that he had settled everything satisfactorily with the king, and appearing to be in the best of humours. This same day, the Signori published a proclamation that as long as the king should stay in Florence there would be no tax on firewood or on any kind of food; and only the half of the usual tax on wine; also that anyone might sell and provide meals.(1) > (1) This proclamation is really of the 6th November, and the exemptions and diminutions of the tax conceded by it are a little different from those quoted here: the duration of these was from the 9th to the 20th, and on the latter date they were prorogued for the whole month. This was done "in order that there should be an abundance of victuals in the city both for its inhabitants and the foreigners, and to help the poor people."

November 11

A man arrived in the Piazza, having entered the city by the _Porta alla Croce_, and said that he had passed men-at-arms and infantry on the road to Florence, belonging to Piero de' Medici. Cries of _Popolo e Liberta_ immediately resounded everywhere, and in less than half an hour the whole city was in arms, men of classes rushing to the Piazza with incredible haste, and with deafening cries of _Popolo e Liberta_. I verily believe that if the whole world had come against them, such a union could not have been broken; it being permitted by the Lord that the people should make such a demonstration, during this danger from the French, who had come to Florence with the evil intent of sacking it. But when they saw of what sort the people were, their heart failed them. As soon as the truth was known, that no armed men were approaching, a proclamation was made ordering all to lay aside their weapons, an this was about the dinner-hour. The Gonfaloni, however, remained on guard day and night, with a good number of men; and horsemen and foot-soldiers belonging to the King of France were continually entering. The Signoria had had the Porta di San Friano(1) opened. This evening the King of France remained at Empoli; and more than 6 thousand men came before the king, and as many with him, and another 6 thousand behind him. And at this time the taxes were lightened and many pardons granted.(2) > (1) The Gate of San Frediano, towards Empoli. (Trans.) > > (2) I here add, that the office of the Otto di Pratica (the Eight Councillors), the Consiglio del Settanta (Council of the Seventy), and that of the Hundred, all institutions of the Medici and their adherents, were done away with and annulled.

November 12

Lorenzo son of Piero Francesco de' Medici returned, and dined at this own house of the Gora, and the same evening he went to meet the king, who was stopping at Legniaia, in the house of Piero Capponi. And on this same day the Bargello was made prisoner in the church of the Servi.(1) Also more French entered the city than any other day, and they filled every house, even the poorest, including all Camaldoli. > (1) His name was Piero Antonio dall' Aquila. The day before, a reward had been promised to anyone who would give information as to where he was hidden; and on the 14th the Priors decreed _quod dono tradatur_ to the Signor Giovanni da Maddaloni, _oratore_ (representative) of the King of France, who would receive him in the king's name.

November 13

We heard that the Pisans had risen and taken possession of the city; and pulling down a certain marble _marzocco_, had dragged it all over Pisa, and then thrown it into the Arno, crying, "_Liberta_!" We also heard that Piero and his brothers were at Bologna; and such a crowd of French and Swiss were coming into Florence, that there was great confusion and alarm and suspicion amongst all classes. You may think what it was to have all this crowd in our houses, and everything left as usual, with the women about, and to have to serve them with whatever they needed, at the greatest inconvenience.

November 14

Lorenzo son of Francesco de' Medici and his brother, and several other exiled citizens, returned to Florence, because the sentences were remitted of all those who had been exiled from 1434 onwards. Observe that Lorenzo de' Medici and his brother were also reinstated in their rights. And every house in the city was full.

November 16

Many decorations were made for the king's arrival in the house of Piero de' Medici, and principally at the entrance of the palace. Two large columns were erected outside, one on each side of the gate, with ornamentation representing the arms of France, etc., too intricate to describe. It truly was a triumph; everything was done so well and on such a grand scale. I will not even begin to tell you how the interior was ordered. And _spiritegli_(1) and giants and triumphal cars went about the town, and stages on wheels for the miracle-play of the Nunziata, whilst there were innumerable embellishments and the arms of France all over Florence. Above the gate of the Palagio de' Signori were the said arms, very large and magnificently blazoned. > (1) See note to 5th July, 1478.

November 17

The King of France entered Florence at 22 in the evening (6 p.m.) by the Porta a San Friano, and passed through the Piazza (de' Signori), proceeding so slowly that it was already 24 (8 p.m.) before he reached Santa Maria del Fiore. He dismounted at the steps, and walked up to the High Altar, there being so many torches that they made a double row from the door to the altar, leaving a way clear in the middle, along which he went with his barons and all his suite, amidst such tumultuous shouting of _Viva Francia_ as was never heard. Only think that all Florence was there, either in the church or outside. Everyone shouted, great and small, old and young, and all from their hearts, without flattery. When he was seen on foot he seemed to the people somewhat less imposing, for he was infact a very small man. Nevertheless there was no one who did not feel favourably disposed towards him. Therefore it should have been eas tomake him understand that our hearts are innocent of guile, and that we are truly devoted to him; so that he ought to feel moved towards us in uncommon measure, and to trust us absolutely. This is really the case, and he will see in the future what the faith of the Florentines signifies. Upon coming out of church, he remounted his horse and rode on to the palace of Piero de' Medici, amidst continued cries of _Viva Francia_. Never was such joy seen before, or so much honour done to anyone, with heartfelt sincerity, as we were in hopes that he would bring us peace and rest. In the end it proved not to be so, as he took Pisa from us and gave it to the Pisans, which he had no right to do, seeing that he could not give what was not his.(1) > (1) On the same day the Signoria itself decreed that as long as the king remained in Florence each householder should keep a light burning every night in a window looking on to the street, from eight o'clock in the evening till one o'clock in the morning. And there was also a debate whether the keys of the Porte a San Frediano, San Gallo, and San Piero Gattolini (now Porta Romana) should be given to him.

November 19

He again heard mass in Sa' Lorenzo; and then went for a ride through Florence, going to see the lions.(1) And it was his wish that some of the prisoners in the _Palagio del Capitano_ should be liberated, those namely who were detained for political reasons; amongst them a Ser Lorenzo, and an Andrea, and others; and this desire of his to benefit the prisoners on the occasion of his passing through the town was granted. > (1) According to ancient custom, the Republic kept some lions in cages. These cages were behind the _Palazzo del Capitano_, now incorporated in the Palazzo Vecchio, whence the piece of street between _Piazza di S. Firenze_ and the _Logge del Grano_ is still called _Via de' Leoni_. This custom was discontinued towards the end of the seventeenth century.

November 20

There were murmurs all over the city to the effect that the king wished to reinstate Piero de' Medici, and the ruling citizens seemed much vexed about this matter.

November 21

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci: > The city was in great dread of being pillaged, and it was considered a bad sign that the king did not wish to sign the agreement. The French seemed to be becoming more and more masters of the place; they did not allow the citizens to go about armed, day or night, but took away their weapons, and kept striking and stabbing them. No one ventured to speak or to go out after the _Ave Maria_ (at 5 o'clock); and the French went about robbing in the night, their guards parading the city. Everyone was so discouraged and intimidated, that when they saw anyone carrying stones or gravel they went crazy and struck out.

November 24

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci: > There was much whispering amongst the people, who said suspiciously: "This king doesn't know what he wishes; he has not yet signed the agreement." And many declared that some of his counsellors were endeavouring to hinder it, as there was a certain Signore di Bre,(1) lodging in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni, who said that he had promised some people to get Piero reinstated, and to persuade the king to ask for this, but perhaps it was not true. This was, as I say, the opinion of many of the citizens, and therefore they were in great dread; still more so when it was said that the king was going this morning to dine in the _Palagio_ with the Signori and that he had caused all the armed men to be removed from the Palagio, and he was going there with many armed men, so that everyone suspected him of evil designs. There was no one who did not take pains this morning to fill his house with bread and with weapons and with stones, and to strengthen his house as much as possible, everyone being of the mind and intention to die fighting, and to slay anyone if needful, in the manner of the Sicilian Vespers. And fear was so widespread(2) that when at the dinner hour people began to say _Serra, serra!_ (Shut everything!), it came about that the whole of Florence locked itself in, one fleeing here and another there, without any fresh cause or disturbance, the consequence being that many of the French rushed to the _Porta a San Friano_ and took possession of the _Ponte alia Carraia_. And in _Borgo Ognissanti_ and in _Via Palazzuolo_, and in _Borgo San Friano_, so many stones were thrown from the windows that they were not able to get to the gates; and when they asked the reason of it, no one knew. Therefore the king did not go to dine in the Palagio; and, by divine permission, the French became so uneasy that it caused them to change their evil intentions towards us who only had good ones. Anyone can see that God does not abandon Florence, but we are not sufficiently grateful. At this time we heard that the French troops which had been in Romagna were passing by in the neighbourhood of Dicomano. (1) Some Florentines historians call him di Bles, and it was Philippe de Bresse, afterwards Duke of Savoy. (2) The greatest confusion seems to have been caused by the Swiss, who were quartered near the Porta al Prato inside and out, and who tried to force their way through _Borgo Ognissanti_, in order to approach the king's quarters.

November 28

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci: > The king left Florence after having dined, and went for the night to the Certosa, and all his men went before or after him, so that few remained here. It was said that Fra Girolamo of Ferrara, our famous preacher, had gone to the king and declared that he was not doing the will of God in stopping, and that he ought to leave. It was even said that he went a second time, when he saw that the king did not leave, and declared again that he was not following God's will, and that whatever evil should befall others would return on his head. It was thought that this was the cause of his leaving more speedily, because at that time the said Fra Girolamo was held to be a prophet and a man of holy life, both in Florence and throughout Italy. At the same time there came to Florence the captain of the French troops in Romagna, whose name was Begni,(1) and he told the king rather dictatorially that he ought to leave on every account, as the weather was favourable, and he declared that it would be ill to delay the advance. And in fact the king did leave, for he put more faith in this _seigneur_ than in all the rest, and deservedly, as he was an extremely intelligent and worthy man, according to what was said; and this was in reality the strongest reason which induced him to leave.(2) (1) Robert Stuart, Comte de Beaumont le Roger, Seigneur of Aubigny-sur-Nerre. (2) On this day the Signori designed Guglielmo d'Antonio Pazzi, Braccio di Domenico Martelli, Niccolo Antinori, and Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici to go the following morning and accompany the king as far as Siena. Afterwards they substituted Francesco de' Rossi for the Medici.

December 4

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci: > An embassy from the Duke of Milan came to Florence.(1) (1) To congratulate the Florentines upon their recovered liberty.

December 9

It was proclaimed that Piero de' Medici was to be confined within boundaries 100 miles outside the Florentine territory.(1) > (1) On the 2nd of this month the Signoria, in order to carry the articles stipulated upon with the French king, absolved Piero from his condemnation as a rebel, and on the same day they consigned him to boundaries 100 miles from Florence. These decrees were published on the 9th.

December 11

11th December (Thursday). A sum of money arrived in Florence from Pistoia, which had been hidden in the convent of the Jesuits by Salvalaglio. They kept on torturing Antonio di Bernardo and Ser Giovanni son of Ser Bartolomeo, and they confessed these things.

December 14

14th December (Sunday). We heard how those Frenchmen who were marking the houses in Rome had been driven away, and many had been killed; the Romans wishing to defend themselves and not accept the Frenchmen in their city. This same day we heard that the Pope and the cardinals had entered the castle of Sant' Angelo, and that the Duke of Calabria had arrived there with a large force, so that it was judged that it would fare badly with the French. It was also said that the king had sent a proclamation to Pisa, to the effect that the Pisans should submit to the Florentines; otherwise the Florentines would make such war upon them that they would be entirely destroyed, at the expense of the said King of France; that is to say that the money which he was to receive would be used instead for the cost of such an expedition; which was not true, but there was always a great deal of talk.(1) The same day Fra Girolamo did his utmost in the pulpit to persuade Florence to adopt a good form of government; he preached in Santa Maria del Fiore every day, and to-day which was a Sunday, he wished that there should be no women, but only men; he wished that only the Gonfalonier and one of the Signori should remain in the Palagio, and that all the offices of Florence should be there; and he preached much about State matters, and that we ought to love and fear God, and love the common weal; and no one must set himself up proudly above the rest. He always favoured the people and he insisted that no one ought to be put to death, but there must be other forms of punishment; and he continued to preach in this manner every morning. Many forms were drawn up, and there was much controversy among the citizens, so that every day it was expected that the bell would be rung for a _parlamento_. > (1) There must have been some truth in it, as we read in the _Memoriale_ of Portoveneri, where there are so many notices of the rebellion and war of Pisa, that on the 4th December there reached this city a herald from the king with the articles which the latter had agreed to with the Florentines, in which it is said: "Everything must be given back that formerly belonged to the Florentines. And this day the said messenger of the King has gone to Sarzana and to Pietrasanta and to Fivizzano and to Bagnone and to Castel-Nuovo and all Luligiana, to consign it to the Florentines." This was agreed to in the treaty.

December 22

22nd December (Monday). It was said that the king was still at Viterbo; everyone went on talking of the French, of Rome, and Pisa, and how Rome would not give a safe-conduct. The Duke of Calabria had arrived there, to resist the French. This day many things were voted in the Palagio: Anyone who slew a man could not return to Florence; and a law as follows against the unmentionable vice: the first time the offender to be punished with _gogna_,(1) the second time, to be fastened to a pillar, and the third time, to be burnt; and many other laws, all recommended by the Frate. (1) _Alia gogna_ was when a prisoner was exposed on the outer wall of the prison of the Bargello, with his hands bound behind him to one of the iron rings, bare-headed, with his hat at his feet to receive _soldi_, and a placard on his breast upon which his crime was written. He had to remain there an hour, during which time the old bell of the prison was rung. (Trans.)


January 3

3rd January (Saturday). The ambassadors returned from Pisa, without having concluded anything; and we were in much fear about the place. It was said also that Piero de' Medici had gone to the King of France to complain of having been banished, because he had kept his word; and that the king had been gracious to him; and that the said Piero made threats, especially against a certain Girolamo Martegli, who was deputed to find Piero's hidden property.(1) On the same day the sentence was passed that Ser Giovanni son of Ser Bartolomeo should be sent to Volterra into the vault of a fortress; and Ser Zanobi, who had been notary to the "Eight," was fined 500 florins, and confined in Florence; and Ser Ceccone was confined in the Stinche, together with others who had been captured. > (1) Martelli was one of the three citizens deputed by the Republic, on the 10th December, _pro computo Comunis bonorum heredum Laurentii, qui una cum tribus ex creditoribus doctorum heredum, propterea deputandorum, habeant auctoritatum cognoscendi et judicandi etc_.

February 5

5th February. The French Cardinal Sammalò,(1) who had just been made cardinal by the Pope, entered Florence. He had come here with the King of France as a bishop; and now he was returning to France. He had many horsemen with him. He was lodged in Santa Maria Novella in the papal apartments. All this time it was said that the King of France was in a bad situation, and there was cause for fear. > (1) Guillaume Briconnet, Bishop of Saint-Malo. From the 25th January, the Pisan ambassadors had written that the _Reverandissimo_ of Saint-Malo, a man, they said, "of great intellect and authority," was going to be sent to Florence by the King of France, not on his way to France, but to remain in Tuscany or the neighbourhood, in order to preserve peace during the stay of the king in the kingdom of Naples; and in case of his going to Pisa begged the Signori to receive him and his suite with honour, "going to meet him outside, and with as many men" as was possible. He had left Rome the morning of the 27th January (_Lettere_, quoted i. 38).

April 1

1st April. Fra Girolamo preached, and said and testified that the Virgin Mary had revealed to him, that after going through much trouble, the city of Florence was to be the most glorious, the richest, and the most powerful that ever existed; and he promised this absolutely. All these things he spoke as a prophet, and the greater part of the people believed him, especially quiet people without political or party passions.

April 7

p85 7th April. We heard that the king intended to return here.

April 9

p85 9th April. We heard that the King of France had sent to demand that all the part of Florence beyond the Arno should be assigned him for quarters; and it was said that he would give Pisa back to us.

April 17

p85 17th April. We heard that the Pisans had made a raid on our territory, in the district of Pescia.



From Rome. _Prudente giovane Buonarroto di Lodovico Bonarroti_, in Florence. In the name of God, this — day of March, 1497. Dear Brother — for as such I esteem thee, etc., From thy brother Michelagniolo I have received thy letter, from which I derived the greatest comfort, chiefly because it contains news of your seraphic (_sarafico_) Frate Jeronimo, who has set the whole of Rome talking. They say here that he is a vile heretic : so much so that at all costs he ought to come to Rome and prophesy a little for these people here ; then they would canonise him. Wherefore let all his friends be of good courage. Brother, thou art constantly in my thoughts ; wherefore be of good courage and strive to learn all thou canst, as thou art doing. I have told Frizzi(1) everything, and he understands the whole matter. Fra Mariano [da Genazzano] has nothing but evil to say of your prophet. I have nothing more to add. In my next letter I will give thee more information, for now I am in a hurry. There is no other news to give thee, save that seven paper bishops were made yesterday, and five of them were hanged by the neck. Bear my remembrances to all the members of thy family, and especially to Lodovico my father, for as such I esteem him : and when thou writest hither, commend me to Michelagniolo. No more. Written in the dark. Thy Piero, in Rome. > (1) Federigo di Filippo Frizzi, a Florentine sculptor, who was subsequently entrusted with the task of restoring Michelangelo's statue of the Risen Christ, in the Minerva at Rome. > > The "paper bishops" referred to in this letter were offenders against the law who were condemned to stand in the pillory with paper caps on their heads. Buonarroto was born on May 26th, 1577, and was younger than Michelangelo by two years.

July 1

_Domino Lodovico Buonarroti_ in Florence. In the name of God, this First day of July, 1497. Most Revered and Dear Father, — You must not be surprised that I have not yet returned to you, for I have failed in all my attempts to settle my business with the Cardinal, and I have no wish to leave Rome until I have received satisfaction and have been paid for my work. With these exalted personages one has to go slowly, for they cannot be forced into action. I believe, however, that the end of the coming week will certainly see all my affairs arranged. I must tell you that Fra Lionardo(1) has returned here to Rome, and says he was obliged to flee from Viterbo and that his frock has been taken away from him. He wished to return to you: wherefore I gave him a gold ducat for his journey, which he asked of me. I think you must already know of this, for by now he ought to be with you. I know of nothing else I have to tell you, for I am surrounded by uncertainties and know not as yet which way matters will turn : but I hope soon to be with you once more. I am well, and trust that you are the same. Commend me to my friends. MICHELAGNIOLO, Sculptor, in Rome. > (1) Lionardo Buonarroti, already mentioned as having entered Savonarola's order of Dominicans.

August 19

Domino Lodovico Buonarroti, in Florence. In the name of God, this 19th day of August, 1497. Dearest Father, — I write this to let you know that Buonarroto arrived here on Friday last, and that directly I heard of it I went to see him at his inn. He gave me all the news by word of mouth, and he tells me further that Consiglio, the draper, is causing you a great deal of anxiety, that he is unwilling to agree to any terms, and that he wishes to have you arrested. My advice is that you should endeavour to make some arrangement with him, and should pay him a few ducats in advance : then let me know what arrangement has been made between you and how much remains to be paid. If you have not this money I will send it you, although I have but little myself; but as I have already said, I will do my best to find the sum, so that you may not be obliged to borrow it from the Monte, as Buonarroto says you will have to do. Do not marvel if sometimes my letters are filled with wrathful sentences, for I am kept continually in a state of agitation by many things which cannot fail to cause anxiety to one who is absent from his own home. I was instructed by Piero de' Medici to make a statue, and I bought the piece of marble for it; but I have never set my hand to the work because he has not done by me as he promised. I am accordingly working for myself, and am carving a figure for my own pleasure. I bought a piece of marble and paid five ducats for it, but it proved to be of no use, and the money was thrown away. Then I bought another piece and paid away another five ducats, and it is on this I am now working for my own amusement. I tell you these things so that you may know that I, too, have my troubles and expenses. Nevertheless, whatever sum you ask me for I will send you, even if I have to sell myself into slavery to raise it. Buonarroto arrived here quite safely and has returned to the inn, where he has a room and is comfortable ; he shall lack for nothing for as long as it pleases him to stay here. I have not the means to have him with me as I am myself lodged in the house of another, but you may rest assured that he shall want for nothing. Well, as I hope you are. MICHELAGNIOLO, in Rome.


Leonardo da Vinci returns to Florence, where he and his household are guests of the Servite monks at the monastery of Santissima Annunziata and are provided with a workshop.
Leonardo da Vinci and Luca Pacioli go to Mantua, then Leonardo continues on to Florence. In Mantua, he draws the Portrait of Isabella d'Este. In Florence, he paints the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne.

November 3


Leonardo da Vinci returns to Florence where he is commissioned to paint a mural, The Battle of Anghiari, in the council hall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.


In Florence, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli become involved in a scheme to divert the Arno river, cutting the water supply to Pisa to force its surrender: Colombino, the project foreman, fails to follow da Vinci’s design, and the project is a major failure.
Raphael is based in Florence, on and off, for the next four years.

May 4

The mural for the Council Hall of Florence was commissioned from Leonardo with a contract of 4 May 1504, signed by Machiavelli as secretary of the Republic; but Leonardo had already begun working on the cartoon in the Sala del Papa in S. Maria Novella, which had been assigned to him on 24 October of the preceding year.


Michelangelo chances upon Leonardo da Vinci discussing Dante at Piazza della Signoria and berates him for his failure to cast The Horse.
Leonardo da Vinci resumes his studies on flight, at Fiesole.


Leonardo da Vinci took three months' leave of absence from his work on the Battle of Anghiari mural in Florence to go to Milan in the service of the French governor Charles d'Amboise, who commissioned the project of a house and garden from him.

May 2

p22 From Florence, May 2nd, 1506.
To the Florentine Maestro Guliano da San Gallo Architect to the Pope, in Rome. Guliano (sic), I learn from a letter sent by you that the Pope was angry at my departure, that he is willing to place the money at my disposal and to carry out what was agreed upon between us ; also, that I am to come back and fear nothing. As far as my departure is concerned, the truth is that on Holy Saturday I heard the Pope, speaking at table with a jeweller and the Master of the Ceremonies, say that he did not want to spend another baiocco on stones, whether small or large, which surprised me very much. However, before I set out I asked him for some of the money required for the continuance of my work. His Holiness replied that I was to come back again on Monday: and I went on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and on Thursday as His Holiness saw. At last, on the Friday morning, I was turned out, that is to say, I was driven away : and the person who turned me away said he knew who I was, but that such were his orders. Thereupon, having heard those words on the Saturday and seeing them afterwards put into execution, I lost all hope. But this alone was not the whole reason of my departure. There was also another cause, but I do not wish to write about it ; enough that it made me think that, if I were to remain in Rome, my own tomb would be prepared before that of the Pope. This is the reason for my sudden departure. Now you write to me on behalf of the Pope, and in similar manner you will read this letter to the Pope. Give His HoHness to understand that I am more eager to proceed with the work than ever I was before, and that if he really wishes to have this tomb erected it would be well for him not to vex me as to where the work is to be done, provided that within the agreed period of five years it be erected in St. Peter's, on the site he shall choose, and that it be a beautiful work, as I have promised : for I am persuaded that it will be a work without an equal in all the world if it be carried out. p24 If His Holiness now wishes to proceed, let him deposit the said money here in Florence with a person whose name I will communicate to you. I have a quantity of marble in preparation at Carrara, which I will have sent here, and I will do the same with the marble I have in Rome, although it will entail a considerable loss to me : but I should disregard that if by this means I could obtain permission to carry out the work here. From time to time I would despatch the pieces as they are finished, in such a manner that His Holiness would be as well content as if I were working in Rome — more, indeed, because he would see the completed works without having any anxiety. With regard to the aforesaid money and work, I will bind myself in any way His Holiness may direct, and I will furnish whatever security here in Florence he may require. Let it be what it may, I will give him full security, even though it be the whole of Florence. There is yet one thing I have to add : it is this, that the said work could not possibly be done for the price in Rome, but it could be done here because of the many conveniences which are available, such as could not be had in Rome. Moreover, I should do better work and take more interest in it, because I should not have to think about a number of other things. However, Guliano mio carissimo I beg of you to let me have an answer, and quickly. I have nothing further to add. This 2nd day of May, 1506. Your MICHELAGNIOLO,
Sculptor, in Florence.

December 19

p25 From Bologna, December 19th, (1506) To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoni in Florence. Buonarroto, -- To-day, this 19th day of December, I have received a letter from thee in which thou recommendest to me Pietro Orlandini (Aldobrandini), asking me to perform what he requires of me. Know that he has written asking me to have a dagger blade made for him, and that he wants it to be of admirable workmanship. However, I do not know how I can serve him quickly and well ; one reason being that it is not my craft, and the other that I have no time to attend to it. I will endeavour, nevertheless, to secure that before a month has passed he shall be served to the best of my ability. I received thy tidings concerning your daily life, and especially the news about Giovansimone. It pleases me that he should enter the same shop as thyself and that he is eager to improve, for I desire to assist him as well as you others ; and if God help me, as He has ever done, I hope before Lent is over to p26 have finished what I have to do here, when I will return to Florence and will assuredly do for you as I promised. With reference to the money which, as thou sayest, Giovansimone wishes to invest in a shop, it seems to me better that he should wait for another four months so that the "flash and the report" may take place simultaneously. I know thou wilt understand my meaning, so I will say no more. Tell him from me to strive towards improvement, and that if, after all, he should want the money of which thou speakest in thy letter, it will have to be withdrawn from my account in Florence, for I have none here to send, as I am receiving but a low price for the work I am doing ; moreover, it is very uncertain, and something might easily happen to throw me upon my beam ends. For these reasons I exhort you all to be patient and to wait these few months until I return. As to Giovansimone's coming here, I do not advise him to come yet, for I live here in a poor room and have bought only one bed, in which four persons have to sleep, so that I have not the means to receive him as he asks. But if he still wishes to come here, let him wait until I have cast the figure I am modelling, when I will send off Lapo and Lodovico, who are helping me, and will despatch a horse for him, so that he may not arrive here like a beast of burden. No more. Pray to God for me that my affairs may go well. MICHELAGNIOLO,
Sculptor, in Bolognia.


Leonardo da Vinci is back in Florence trying to sort out litigation issues with his brothers over his father's estate.

January 22

p27 From Bologna, January 22nd, 1507. To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simony, in Florence. To be delivered at the shop of Lorenzo Strozzi, Arte della Lana, opposite to the Apothecary, della Palla, near the Porta Rossa. BUONARROTO, — Some days ago I received a letter from thee, from which I learn that Lodovico has arranged with Francesco about Mona Zanobia's farm. Thou tellest me also that Giovansimone has begun to attend the same shop as thyself, and that he wants to come here to Bolognia. I have not replied before because I have not had time until to-day. With regard to the above-mentioned farm, thou sayest that Lodovico has entered into an agreement, and that he is going to write to me on the subject. Please understand that if he has written to me I have never received any letter which deals with the matter please tell him this, therefore, so that he may not p28 be surprised at receiving no reply to his letter, if he has written one. I will tell thee my views about Giovansimone, so that thou mayest impart them to him on my behalf. I do not wish him to come here before I have cast the figure I have in hand, and for this I have a sufficient reason, though do not ask me what it is. Enough that as soon as I have cast the figure I will see that he shall come here without fail. It will then be less inconvenient, as I shall be released from the expenses which I have now to bear. I expect that by the middle of Lent my figure will be ready for casting, and I pray God that it may turn out well ; for if it be successful I hope to stand well with this Pope and to receive his favour. If I should cast it at mid-Lent and it should turn out well I hope to be in Florence for the Easter festival, and then I will assuredly do by you as I promised, if ye continue to be diligent. Tell Piero Aldobrandini that I have entrusted his blade to the best worker in such things I can find, and that he promises to let me have it during the coming week. As soon as I receive it I will send it on, if I consider it satisfactory : if not, I will have another made. Tell him also not to be surprised if I have not served him as quickly as I ought, for I have so little time to spare that I could not do otherwise than I have done. This twenty-second day of January, 1506. MICHELAGNIOLO DI LODOVICO BUONARROTI, Sculptor, in Bolognia.

January 31

p29 From Rome, January 31st, 1507.
To Lodovico di Lionardo di Buonarrota Simoni, in
Florence. To be delivered at the Customs
House, Florence. Most Revered Father, — I learn from one of your letters that the Spedalingo has not yet come back to Florence and that as a consequence you have been unable to conclude the business about the farm as you desired. It has given me annoyance also, for I supposed you had already paid over the money for it. I half suspect that the Spedalingo has gone away on purpose so that he may not have to give up this source of income but may continue to hold both the money and the farm. Please let me know about it, for should matters be as I fear I would take my money from his keeping and place it elsewhere. As for my affairs here, I should get on all right if only my marbles were to arrive : but I seem to be most unfortunate in this matter, for since I arrived there have not been two fine days in succession. A boat happened to get here some days ago, but it was only by the greatest good fortune that it escaped accident, as the weather was most unfavourable : and as soon as I had unloaded it the river suddenly rose in flood and submerged it (the marble), so that even p30 now I have not been able to set to work on anything, although I make promises to the Pope and encourage him to hope in order that he may not lose his temper with me ; hoping myself all the time that the weather will improve and that I shall soon be able to begin work—God grant it so ! Please take all the drawings, that is to say, all those papers I put into the sack of which I told you, and make them up into a little bundle and send them to me by some carrier. But see that they are securely done up and run no risk of damage from rain, so that not even the smallest paper may suffer hurt. Bid the carrier take good care of them, for some are of the very greatest importance. Write and say into whose charge you have given them and what I have to pay the man. As to Michele, I wrote to say that he was to put that chest in safety somewhere under cover and then come immediately to Rome where he should want for nothing. I do not know what he has done. I beg of you to enquire into this ; and, further, I beg of you to put yourself to a little trouble over these two things — that is to say, first to see that the chest is put in a safe place under cover, and afterwards I would like you to have the marble Madonna brought to your house, and take care that nobody shall see it. I am not sending you any money for these two things because I do not think they will cost much. If you have to borrow, you can do so, because very soon — if my marble arrives I will send you money for this purpose and for your own use. p31 I wrote asking you to enquire of Bonifazio the name of the man in Lucca to whom he was going to pay those fifty ducats I am sending to Matteo di Cucherello at Carrara, and I asked you to write the name in the unsealed letter I sent you, which you were to forward to the said Matteo at Carrara so that he might know where to go in Lucca in order to get the money. I expect you have already done this. I beg you also to tell me to whom Bonifazio is paying the money at Lucca, so that I may know his name and can write to Matteo at Carrara telling him from whom he is to receive the said money in Lucca. No more. Do not send me anything more than I write for : my clothes and shirts I give to you and to Giovansimone. Pray to God that my affairs may prosper, and bear in mind that I wish you to invest about a thousand ducats of my money in land, as we have agreed. On the thirty-first day of January, one thousand five hundred and six. Your MICHELAGNIOLO, in Rome. P.S. — Lodovico : I beg you to send on the enclosed letter addressed to Piero d'Argiento, and I beg you to see that he receives it. I think it might be well to send it through the medium of the Jesuits, as he visits them frequently. I beg you to see to this.


The Michele mentioned in this letter is Michele di Piero di Pippo, a stone cutter of Settignano, who was p32 sent to Carrara in connection with the marbles for the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence. With regard to the "Madonna" mentioned further on, it is not certain whether Michelangelo refers to the marble bas-relief now preserved in the Casa Buonarroti in Florence or to the Madonna and Child which is the chief treasure of Notre Dame at Bruges. In passing, it may be worth while to draw attention to the obvious nervousness which marks all Michelangelo's financial transactions. The instructions with regard to the banker at Lucca are characteristic, and afford sufficient proof of the artist's aversion to trusting his money in the hands of other people.

February 1

p32 Bologna, February 1st, 1507. To Buonarroto di Lodovico Simone, in Florence. Buonarroto, — I learn from thy letters how matters have gone with regard to the small farm : it has given me the greatest satisfaction and I am well pleased, provided it is a sure thing. I have made careful enquiries about this Baronciello business, and from what I have heard it is a far more serious thing than ye make it out to be : and for my part, seeing that it is unfair, I would not ask it of him. We are all of us under considerable obligation to Baronciello, and we will do our best to fulfil those obligations, especially such as lie in our power. Thou must know that on Friday evening, at the twenty-first hour. Pope Julius came to my house where I am at work, and remained for about half an hour while I was working. Then he gave me his blessing p33 and went away, showing himself well satisfied with what I am doing. For all this it seems to me we ought to thank God very heartily ; and so I beg you to do, and to pray for me. I have to inform thee further that on Friday morning I sent away Lapo and Lodovico, who were with me. I turned Lapo away because he was conspiringagainst me and is a rogue, and would not do as he was bid. Lodovico is better, and I would have kept him on for another two months ; but Lapo, in order not to be the only one blamed, corrupted him in such a way that both have been sent off. I tell thee this not because I am troubled by them — for they are not worth three quattrini the two together — but so that, if they come to talk to Lodovico, he should not be surprised. Tell him on no account to listen to them: if thou desirest to know more go to Messer Agniolo, Herald of the Signoria, for I have sent him a full account of the matter, and he of his kindness will give thee all information. I note what thou sayest about Giovansimone. It pleases me that he should enter thy master's shop and endeavour to make progress : encourage him to do his best, for if this matter turns out well I have hopes of placing you in a good position, if ye are prudent. With reference to that other land beside Mona Zanobia's, if Lodovico likes it tell him to enquire into the matter and let me know. I believe, and it is said here, that the Pope will go hence about Carnival. On the first day of February, 1506 (1507). MICHELAGNIOLO DI LODOVICO DI BUONARROTA SIMONI, Sculptor, in Bolognia.

February 8

p34 From Bologna. To Lodovico di Lionardo di Buonarrotta Simoni, in Florence. The 8th day of February, 1506 (1507). Most Revered Father, — I have to-day received a letter from you, from which I learn that Lapo and Lodovico have been talking to you. I am content that you should rebuke me, because I deserve to be rebuked as a wretch and a transgressor quite as much as anyone else, and perhaps more. But you must understand that I have not transgressed in any wise in the matter for which you rebuke me, either against them or against anyone else, unless it be that I have done more than I ought. All the men with whom I have ever had dealings know very well what I give them ; and if anyone knows it, Lapo and Lodovico are the two who know it best of all, for in a month and a half one of them has had twenty-seven broad ducats and the other eighteen broad ducats, each with their expenses. Therefore I beg of you not to be carried away by their story. When they complained about me you ought to have asked how long they were with me and how much they had received from me then you would have had to ask them what cause they had for complaint. But the reason of their great anger, particularly of that rascal Lapo, is this they had given it out on all sides that they were the men who were doing this work, or rather, that they were in partnership with me ; and they never realised — Lapo in particular — that he was not the master until I sent him off. Only then did he understand that he was in my service ; and having already given p35 a great deal of trouble and caused the Pope's favour to show signs of declining, it appeared a strange thing to him that I should drive him away like a beast. I am sorry that he should still have seven ducats of mine, but when I return to Florence he shall most assuredly pay me back, though if he has any conscience he would also feel obliged to give me back the other money he has received. But enough. I shall say no more about it as I have written a sufficiently full account of their performances to Messer Agniolo (the Herald). I beg you to go to him, and if you can take Granaccio with you, do so, and let him read the letter I have written so that he may understand what abject creatures they are. But I beg of you to keep silent as to what I have written about Lodovico, for if I cannot find anyone else to come here and cast the metal I shall endeavour to get him back, because as a matter of fact I have not dismissed him ; only Lapo, who received more blame than he cared to support alone, lightened his own load by corrupting Lodovico. You will learn the whole matter from the Herald, and also how you are to act. Do not have any dealings with Lapo, for he is too great a scoundrel, and we have nothing to do with either of them. With reference to Giovansimone, it does not seem to me advisable that he should come here, as the Pope is leaving during Carnival ; I believe he will visit Florence on the way, and he does not leave affairs here in good order. According to rumour, there is a want of confidence prevalent here which it is wise neither to inquire into nor to write about : but enough that, even if nothing were to happen — and I believe p36 nothing will — I do not want to have the care of brothers on my shoulders. Do not be surprised at this and do not breathe a word of it to anyone, because I have need of assistants, and I should find none willing to come if this were known. And besides, I still think things may turn out well. I shall soon be back in Florence and I will behave in such a manner as to satisfy Giovansimone and the others, if it please God ! To-morrow I will write you another letter with reference to certain moneys I wish to send to Florence, telling you what to do with them. I understand about Piero ; he will answer on my behalf, for he is a good fellow, as he has always been.
Your MICHELAGNIOLO, in Bolognia.
P.S. I have something else to add in reply to the curious behaviour Lapo attributes to me. I want to tell you one thing, and it is this. I bought seven hundred and twenty pounds of wax, and before I bought it I told Lapo to find out where it could be got, and to settle the price, saying that I would give him the money so that he could buy it. Lapo went, and came back again, and told me that it could not be got for a farthing less than nine broad ducats and twenty bolognini the hundred (pounds), which is equal to nine ducats forty soldi. He added that I ought to take the opportunity without delay because I had been very fortunate. I replied that he was to go and find out whether he could get the odd forty soldi per hundred knocked off and that I would then buy it. He answered that the Bolognesi were of such a nature that they would not abate one farthing of the price p37 they had asked. This raised my suspicions, and I let the matter drop. Later in the same day I called Piero aside and told him secretly to go and ask the price of the wax per hundred. Piero went to the same man as Lapo and bargained with him for eight and a half ducats, to which price I agreed, and afterwards I sent Piero to receive his commission, and he got that also. This is one of my strange performances. Of a truth I know it seemed strange to him that I was able to see through his deceit. It was not enough for him to receive eight broad ducats a month and his expenses, but in addition he tried to swindle me ; and he may have swindled me on many occasions of which I know nothing, for I trusted him. I have never met a man who appeared more honest, so I suppose his straightforward look must have misled many another person. Therefore do not trust him in anything, and pretend not to see him.


The Francesco Granaccio mentioned here was a painter and a fellow-student with Michelangelo in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio. He studied also with Michelangelo in the Medici Garden at San Marco.

February 13

p37 From Bologna, February 13th, 1507.
To Buonarroto di Lodovico Buonarrota Simony in Florence. BUONARROTO, — I send this as cover to two letters one is to go to Piero Aldobrandini, and the other to Giovanni Balducci in Rome. The latter I wish thee to hand to Bonifazio Fazi so that he may send it on, the other give to the aforesaid Piero. p38 Concerning those two scoundrels, I have no time to tell the whole story of their knavery, and I beg all of you — and tell Lodovico the same — not to refer to their behaviour in any way, for we have not to deal with them in this matter. Let this suffice. The thirteenth day of February, 1506.

February 24

p38 From Bologna, February 24th, (1507).
To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simony
in Florence. BUONARROTO, — It is already fifteen days since I sent certain moneys to Lodovico in Florence with certain instructions, and I have never had a reply. I am much surprised at it. Tell Lodovico, therefore, to let me know if he has received them, and if he has done as I asked ; tell him to let me know without fail, because I am annoyed about it and marvel at his want of perception. He is the sort of man that one would entrust with important business again ! I should have expected him to write a hundred letters, to make sure that at least one should reach me. See to it that he informs me without fail as to what steps he has taken and that the letter is sent in such a way as to reach me. Yesterday I sent to see if Piero's dagger was finished and found that it had still to be gilt. The man has kept me waiting for a month, but the truth is that he was not able to do otherwise, for owing to the departure of the Court he has had to supply weapons to all the courtiers and has had a very great deal to do. It p39 is for this reason he has kept me waiting. Tell Piero not to be anxious, for in any case he shall have it in a few days. The Pope went away on Monday morning at the sixteenth hour, and if thou desirest to learn in what state he has left my affairs, go to the Herald and he will tell thee. I have no time to write. The twenty-fourth day of February.
in Bolognia.

March 6

p39 From Bologna, March 6th, 1507.
To Buonarroto di Lodovico Buonarroti
in Florence. Buonarroto, — I did not reply to thy letter or to Piero Aldobrandini's because I had decided not to write until I had received the said Piero's dagger. It is now two months ago that I entrusted this work to a man who has the reputation of being he most skilful master to be found in his particular craft, and although he has kept me waiting until now I did not wish to have it made by anyone else, nor to annul the agreement : wherefore, the aforesaid Piero has some excuse if he considers I have treated him badly, but I could not do otherwise. Now I have got the dagger back again, or rather, I have got it ; but only this morning, and with much difficulty, for my lad Piero had been obliged to go for it so many times that he was ready to beat the maker over the head with it. Please note that the gold-beater, Chiaro di Bartolomeo, will be the bearer of this and that he will also bring the dagger. See that Chiaro is paid what is due for bringing it, and give it p40 to Piero. If it does not please him, tell him to send me word, and I will have another one made ; and tell him also that since the Court came here every craftsman and all the arts have risen to great dignity and esteem, wherefore he must not marvel if I have so long delayed sending it, for I, too, have had much to think of. This one workman alone has more on his hands since the Court was here than the whole of Bolognia had previously. I have no time for writing. I wrote to Lodovico saying I had received his letters and telling him how I had been deceived, as he will now be able to understand. On the sixth day of March, 1506.
in Bolognia.

March 26

p40 From Bologna, March 26th, (1507).
To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoni,
in Florence. BUONARROTO, — Some days ago I received a letter from thee acquainting me with the whole story of Piero Aldobrandini and the dagger. I may tell thee that if it were not for love of thee I would leave him to babble on as long as he liked. Thou must know that the blade I sent, and thou hast received, was made according to his — that is to say, Piero's measurements, for he sent me a drawing in a letter and told me that I was to get it made exactly like that. I did so. However, if he wanted a dagger he should not have sent me measurements for a rapier : but I wish to tell thee in this letter what I would not say before, and that is, that thou hadst better not have p41 dealings with him because it is not thy business. If he should come to thee for the aforesaid blade, by no means let him have it ; put a good face on the matter and tell him I gave it to one of my friends that will be enough. I may tell thee that it cost me nineteen carlini here, with thirteen quattrini for the tax. My affairs here are proceeding favourably, by the grace of God, and I hope to cast my figure before a month is past. Pray God, therefore, that it may turn out well, so that I may return quickly to you, for I am minded to do for you all as I promised. Be kind to Giovansimone and tell him to write to me sometimes, and say to Lodovico that I am well and that I will certainly let him know before I cast my figure. Commend me to Granaccio when thou seest him. I have nothing more to tell thee. The plague is beginning here, and is of a virulent type, for wherever it enters it carries off all within the house, although at present it has not claimed many victims — forty households, perhaps, so they tell me. This twenty-sixth day of March.
Sculptor, in Bolognia. P.S. — If thou hast given the dagger to Piero say no more about it, but if thou hast not done so do not give it him at all.


Much to Michelangelo's satisfaction, Piero refused the dagger, which enabled the artist to give it to Filippo Strozzi, who had admired it.

April 20

p43 From Bologna, April 20th, (1507). To Giovan Simone di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoni in Florence. Giovan Simone, — I have not replied to a letter received from thee several days ago because I have not had the time. In this letter I have to tell thee that up to the present my work goes well, and accordingly I have hopes that it will finish satisfactorily — please God it may be so ! And if it should be so — that is to say, if I come out of this affair well — I will come, or rather, return, to you immediately, and I will do all that I have promised each one of you ; that is to say, I will help you with all I have — in what way you and our father will be able to judge for yourselves. Therefore be of good cheer, and be diligent in thy shop, making the most of every opportunity ; for I hope that before long ye will be keeping a shop by yourselves and for yourselves. If ye understand the business and know how to trade it will be of very great assistance. Wherefore attend to thy work with diligence. Thou writest of a certain friend of thine, a doctor, who has told thee that the plague is a dangerous disease and that people die of it. I am very glad to know of this because it is very prevalent here and these Bolognesi have not yet learnt that it is fatal. Wherefore it would be a good thing if he were to come p44 here, because then he would perhaps teach them by experience, and they would greatly benefit thereby. I have nothing more to tell thee. I am well and getting on satisfactorily : I hope soon to be back in Florence. On the 20th day of April. I had no more paper. MICHELAGNIOLO, in Bolognia.


Giovan Simone Buonarroti was born on March 9th, 1479. He was four years younger than Michelangelo.

April 28

p44 From Bologna, April 28th, (1507). To Giovan Simone di Lodovico di Buonarrota Sinioni, in Florence. To be delivered at the shop of Lorenzo Strozzi, Arte della Lana, in Porta Rossa. Giovan Simone, — I have already replied to a letter from thee some days ago. By this time I believe thou wilt have received mine and wilt have learnt my views. If thou hast not received it, thou wilt learn from this letter all that I wrote to thee in the last. I expect Buonarroto will have told thee of my intentions, and thou mayst take it all for settled, for directly I reach Florence, I intend, with God's permission, to set you up in business either by yourselves or in partnership, whichever ye desire, and in whatever manner may appear to us the most secure. Wherefore be of good courage and rely upon what I have told thee as being a certainty. I have no time now for writing ; therefore I will write again more fully later on. I am well and have finished my figure in p45 wax. This coming week I shall begin to make the outer mould, and expect to have it complete in from twenty to twenty-five days. After that I shall prepare for the casting, and if it comes out well I shall be in Florence shortly after. On the 28th day of April. MICHELAGNIOLO, in Bolognia.

May 2

p. 45 From Bologna, May 2nd, (1507).
To Giovan Simone di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoniy
in Florence. Giovan Simone, — Some days ago I received a letter from thee which gave me much pleasure. Since then I have written thee two letters, and I suppose I have had the same good fortune with respect to them that I usually have, that is to say, I suppose they have not arrived.

I may tell thee that, please God, two months will not pass before I return to Florence : and all that I have promised to do for Buonarroto and for thee I am prepared to carry out. I do not write to thee of my intentions at full length, nor do I say how eager I am to help you, because I am loath that others should get to know of our affairs : be of good cheer, however, for greater — or rather, better — things are in store for thee than thou thinkest. I have no more to tell thee on this head. Thou must know that here everyone is preparing for war, and this is the fourth day that the whole district has been under arms and a prey to rumoured dangers, with which the Church in especial is threatened : the cause of it being the Bentivogli, p46 who have made an attempt to enter the city with a great following of people. The high courage and prudence of his lordship the Legate, however, and the admirable precautions he has taken have, I believe, saved the patrimony from them once more, since at the twenty-third hour this evening we had news from their forces that they were turning back again with small honour to themselves, No more. Pray God for me : and live in happy expectation, because soon I shall be back in Florence.

The 2nd day of May.

in Bolognia.


The Bentivogli, sometime lords of Bologna, had been driven out by the Papal forces, and it was as a result of this reoccupation that Julius visited the city, as related in Michelangelo's letters. Shortly after the Pope's departure, however, Annibale Bentivoglio made the attempt to which this letter refers, but was repulsed by the Papal Legate, the Cardinal di Pavia.

July 6

p. 46 Bologna, July 6th, (1507).
To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoniy
in Florence.

Buonarroto, — Learn that we have cast my statue, and that I was not over fortunate with it, the reason being that Maestro Bernardino, either through ignorance or misfortune, failed to melt the metal sufficiently. It would take too long to explain how it happened : enough that my figure has come out up to the waist, the remainder of the metal — half the p. 47 bronze, that is to say — having caked in the furnace, as it had not melted ; and to get it out the furnace must be taken to pieces. I am having this done, and! this week I shall have it built up again. Next week I shall recast the upper portion and finish filling the mould, and I believe it will turn out tolerably well after so bad a beginning, though only as the result of the greatest labour, worry and expense. I was ready to believe that Maestro Bernardino could melt his metal without fire, so great was my confidence in him : but all the same it is not that he is not a skilled master, or that he did not work with a will. But he who tries may fail. His failure has been costly to him as well as to me, for he has disgraced himself to such an extent that he dare not raise his eyes in Bologna.

If thou shouldst meet Baccio d'Agnolo, read this letter to him and beg him to inform San Gallo in Rome, and commend me to him. Commend me also to Giovanni da Ricasoli and to Granaccio. If this turns out satisfactorily I hope to be finished with it in from fifteen to twenty days, when I will return to you. If it is not successful I should perhaps have to do it again, but I will keep you informed.

Let me know how Giovansimone is.
On the 6th day of July.

P.S. With this I shall enclose a letter for Giuliano da San Gallo in Rome. Send it as securely and as quickly as thou canst : if he should be in Florence, give it into his hands.

October 16

From Bologna, October (16th), 1507.
To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonaryota Simoni,
in Florence.


I have no time to reply to thy last letter as it deserves, but thou mayst learn that I am well and shall soon have finished, and expect to win very great honour ; all of which proceedeth from the grace of God. Directly I have completed my work I shall come to Florence, and then I will deal in such a way with all the matters of which thou writest that ye shall be satisfied, and Lodovico and Giovansimone as well. I pray thee go and seek out the Herald and the Commandant Tommaso (Balducci) : tell them I have not time to write, or rather, to reply to their very welcome letters ; but that by the next post I will assuredly write something to them by way of reply. Also I beg thee to seek out San Gallo, and to tell him that I expect to have finished soon. Find out how he is, and tell him that by the next post I will write and inform him how the work is going on. No more.

The — day of October.

in Bolognia.

November 10

From Bologna, November 10th, (1507).
To Buonarroto di Lodovico di Buonarrota Simoni,

Buonarroto, — I marvel that thou writest to me so seldom. I am sure thou hast more leisure for writing to me than I have for writing to thee, so let me have news from thee frequently.

Thy last letter informed me that thou hadst good 49 reason to wish for my speedy return, with the result that for several days I was uneasy in my mind. Therefore, when thou writest, write boldly and explain matters clearly so that I may understand them. Let this suffice.

Know that I look forward to my early return far more eagerly than ye could possibly do, for I live here in the greatest discomfort, subject to the greatest anxieties, and do nothing but labour day and night. I have undergone and am undergoing so much strain that, if I were obliged to make another figure, I do not believe my life would suffice for it, as the undertaking has been one of enormous difficulty ; had it been entrusted to anyone else it would have turned out a failure. But I believe the intercessions of somebody or other have assisted me and kept me in health, for all Bologna was of opinion that I should never complete it : both since it was cast and before, when there was no one who believed the casting would ever take place. However, it is now well on the way to completion, though it will not be finished by the end of this month as I had expected ; but next month it will certainly be off my hands, and I will return to Florence. So be of good cheer, all of ye, for I will do as I promised, whatever happens. Cheer Lodovico and Giovansimone in my name and let me know how Giovansimone is getting on : strive to learn and acquire a knowledge of the business, so that when the time comes ye may know how to trade for yourselves, which will be before long.

On the tenth day of November.

in Bolognia



Michelangelo returns to Florence.

May 10

p. 50

May 10th, 1508 :

"I record that on this tenth day of May, in the year one thousand five hundred and eight, I, Michelagniolo, sculptor, have received from his Holiness, our p.51lord Pope Julius the Second, five hundred ducats of the Camera, which were paid to me by Messer Carlino, Chamberlain, and by Messer Carlo degli Albizzi, on account of the paintings in the vault of the Chapel of Pope Sixtus, on which I begin to work this day, under the conditions and stipulations set forth in the document prepared by His Most Reverend Lordship of Pa(via) and subscribed by my hand.

"For the assistant painters who are to come from Florence, who will be five in number, twenty gold ducats of the Camera each, with this proviso : that is to say, when they have arrived and have entered into an agreement with us, the aforesaid twenty ducats which each will have received shall be reckoned as part of their wages, these wages to be due as from the day of their departure from Florence. And if they shall not enter into an agreement with us, they are to retain one-half of the said sum for the expenses of their journey and for their time."

May 10

Piero Soderini wrote to the Marquis of Massa-Carrara, begging him to retain a large block of marble until Michelangelo could come in person and superintend its rough-hewing for a colossal statue to be placed on the Piazza in Florence.


March 22

Begun at Florence, in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli, on the 22nd day of March 1508(1). And this is to be a collection without order, taken from many papers which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place, according to the subjects of which they may treat. But I believe that before I am at the end of this [task] I shall have to repeat the same things several times; for which, O reader! do not blame me, for the subjects are many and memory cannot retain them [all] and say: 'I will not write this because I wrote it before.' And if I wished to avoid falling into this fault, it would be necessary in every case when I wanted to copy [a passage] that, not to repeat myself, I should read over all that had gone before; and all the more since the intervals are long between one time of writing and the next. > (1) addi 22 di marzo 1508. The Christian era was computed in Florence at that time from the Incarnation (Lady day, March 25th). Hence this should be 1509 by our reckoning.


The fragment of Leonardo's mural, the Battle of Anghiari, was protected with a wooden frame soon after the return of the Medici to Florence, when the rest of the room was dismantled and eliminated, as we everything referring to the preceding republican government.


Leonardo da Vinci sketches an epigastric parasitic thoracopagus (a person with the body of a child growing out of their chest) that he saw in Florence, on his way to Rome.


Benvenuto Cellini is banished from Florence for six months for his part in a street fight and lives in Siena.



The statue (of Christ Triumphant by Michelangelo) seems to have been rough-hewn at the quarries, packed up, and sent to Pisa on its way to Florence as early as this date.


August 16

The contractors for Michelangelo's marble blocks to be carved into the tombs of S. Lorenzo, all of which were excavated from the old Roman quarry of Polvaccio, came to Florence, and were paid on account.

August 19

Michelangelo's assistant Scipione of Settignano returns to Florence from Carrara about the business of the marble blocks for the tombs of S. Lorenzo.


January 13

Pope Clement VII offers Michelangelo a pension in order to retain his services. It appears that Michelangelo only asked for fifteen ducats a month, and that his friend Pietro Gondi had proposed twenty-five ducats. Fattucci rebuked him in affectionate terms for his want of pluck, informing him that "Jacopo Salviati has given orders that Spina should be instructed to pay you a monthly provision of fifty ducats." Moreover, all the disbursements made for the work at S. Lorenzo were to be provided by the same agent in Florence, and to pass through Michelangelo's hands. A house was assigned him, free of rent, at S. Lorenzo, in order that he might be near his work. Henceforth he was in almost weekly correspondence with Giovanni Spina on affairs of business, sending in accounts and drawing money by means of his then trusted servant, Stefano, the miniaturist.


Giovanni da Undine comes from Rome to decorate the vault of the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo in Florence with frescoed arabesques.

May 22

King Francoise I repudiates the Treaty of Madrid and forms the League of Cognac against Charles, including Pope Clement VII, Milan, Venice, and Florence.


April 29

A note from Michelangelo shows the disturbed state of Florence at the time of the uprising against the Medici: > I record how, some days ago, Piero di Filippo Gondi asked for permission to enter the new sacristy at S. Lorenzo, in order to hide there certain goods belonging to his family, by reason of the perils in which we are now. To-day, upon the 29th of April 1527, he has begun to carry in some bundles, which he says are linen of his sisters; and I, not wishing to witness what he does or to know where he hides the gear away, have given him the key of the sacristy this evening.

May 16

In Florence, the Piagnon, a group devoted to the memory of Girolamo Savonarola, drive out the Medici for a second time, re-establishing the Republic of Florence until 1530.

May 17

The Cardinal of Cortona, with the young princes Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici, flee Florence due to an uprising.



August 22

By a deliberation of the Signory, we are informed that the marble had been brought to Florence about three years earlier, and that Michelangelo now received instructions, couched in the highest terms of compliment, to proceed with a group of two figures until its accomplishment. If Vasari can be trusted, Michelangelo made numerous designs and models for the Cacus, but afterwards changed his mind, and thought that he would extract from the block a Samson triumphing over two prostrate Philistines. The evidence for this change of plan is not absolutely conclusive.


April 6

The War Office of Florence issues a patent recruiting Michelangelo's services as a military engineer, conferring on him full authority over the work of fortification.

June 5

Michelangelo had scarcely been chosen to control the general scheme of fortifying Florence, when the Signory began to consider the advisability of strengthening the citadels of Pisa and Livorno, and erecting lines along the Arno. Their commissary at Pisa wrote urging the necessity of Buonarroti's presence on the spot. In addition to other pressing needs, the Arno, when in flood, threatened the ancient fortress of the city. Accordingly we find that Michelangelo went to Pisa on the 5th of June, and that he stayed there over the 13th, returning to Florence perhaps upon the 17th of the month.

July 28

Furnished with letters to the Duke, and with special missives from the Signory and the Ten to their envoy, Galeotto Giugni, Michelangelo left Florence for Ferrara after the 28th of July, and reached it on the 2nd of August. He refused, as Giugni writes with some regret, to abandon his inn, but was personally conducted with great honour by the Duke all round the walls and fortresses of Ferrara. On what day he quitted that city, and whither he went immediately after his departure, is uncertain.

August 8

The Ten write to Galeotto Giugni, saying that Michelangelo's presence is urgently required at Florence, since the work of fortification is going on apace, "a multitude of men being employed, and no respect being paid to feast-days and holidays." It would also seem that toward the close of the month, Michelangelo is expected at Arezzo, in order to survey and make suggestions on the defences of the city.

September 21

Michelangelo flees Florence, abandoning his post as military engineer in charge of the city's fortifications. A letter from Michelangelo to his friend Battista della Palla on the 25th of September 1529 makes clear his reasons: > Battista, dearest friend, I left Florence, as I think you know, meaning to go to France. When I reached Venice, I inquired about the road, and they told me I should have pass through German territory, and that he journey is both perilous and difficult. Therefore I thought it well to ask you, at your pleasure, whether you are still inclined to go, and to beg you; and so I entreat you, let me know, and say where you want me to wait for you, and we will travel together. I left home without speaking to any of my friends, and in great confusion. You know that I wanted in any case to go to France, and often asked for leave, but did not get it. Nevertheless I was quite resolved, and without any sort of fear, to see the end of the war out first. But on Tuesday morning, September 21, a certain person came out by the gate at S. Niccolo, where I was attending to the bastions, and whispered in my ear that, if I meant to save my life, I must not stay at Florence. He accompanied me home, dined there, brought me horses, and never left my side till he got me outside the city, declaring that this was my salvation. Whether God or the devil was the man, I do not know.

October 13

Galeotti Giugni wrote to the Florentine War Office from Ferrara, upon the subject of Michelangelo's return to Florence under safe conduct. He says that Michelangelo has beged him to intercede in his favour, and that he is willing to return and lay himself at the feet of their lordships.

October 20

In answer to Galeotto Giugni's intercession on Michelangelo's behalf for the artist to return to Florence, news is sent to Giugni that the Signory has signed a safe-conduct for Michelangelo.


August 3

In the Battle of Gavinana, Florence is captured by Spanish troops under Prince Philibert. The Piagnon (followers of the memory of Girolamo Savonarola) are overthrown, ending the Siege of Florence, and the Medici are restored, in the person of the Pope's nephew Alessandro de' Medici.


In Florence, Benvenuto Cellini is accused by a woman named Margherita, for having certain familiarities with her son, Vincenzo.


May 13

Benvenuto Cellini dies in Florence and is buried with great pomp in the church of the Santissima Annunziata.