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Program for Giovanni Boccaccio Anniversary
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Program for Giovanni Boccaccio Anniversary

Celebrating the Seventh Centenary birth of the writer and poet Giovanni Boccaccio who in the fourteenth century lived in Certaldo, a small medieval village in Tuscany, in the province of Florence. He was the author of the Decameron, a hundred short stories in vernacular prose which is one of the most important works of Italian culture.

Biography

The Seventh Centenary of the birth of Giovanni Boccaccio is celebrated throughout this year at Certaldo in Tuscany, one of the greatest authors of Italian literature, the one who invented a prose nuanced language with the use of dialectal vulgar forms.

The full program of events can be downloaded from the site Boccaccio2013.

 

Born, probably in the municipality of Certaldo Florence, we know he was born precisely in 1313, however the specifc date are still not know.. Yet scholars have wondered if he was born in Florence or Certaldo or even in Paris. Giovanni was the natural son of the merchant Boccaccino di Chelino. His life was of constant travel and he had the chance to see active culturals of the time, such as Naples, Florence, Ravenna and Avignon, that allowed him contact with the most prominent personalities of those days, such as Cino da Pistoia and the great Petrarca.

Also the woman in his life, the graceful Fiammetta, little is known. She may have been a young lived at the Neapolitan court of Robert of Anjou, perhaps one of his illegitimate daughter, or as a pure creation of the imagination of Boccaccio, no one can say for sure.Most of his love interest is wrapped in a thick fog in which it is difficult to separate the true from the false.

We know that he died in Certaldo on December 21, 1375 and was buried in the church today dedicated to Saints Jacopo and Filippo, but we also know that, with the Leopoldina reform of 1783 which prohibits the burial in the church, his remains were transported and scattered in the churchyard of Saint Michele and Jacopo.

In 1525, the humanist Pietro Bembo adds Boccaccio into the "three crowns" (the models to be used for literature): Dante,  because considered the father of the Italian language, the poetry of Petrarch and Boccaccio's prose.

The V Centenary of his death in December 21, 1875 was celebrated in Certaldo with a speech by Carducci. During the festivities, in the main square of the village, the mayor laid the first stone of the monument in honor of the poet. The statue was made by the sculptor Augusto Passaglia, which was be completed in 1879.

 

 

Decameron

Decamerone or Decameron is derived from the greek and means literally "ten days." It reflects the 'Exameron' by St. Ambrose, a story of the six days of God's creation.

The book is a collection of one hundred short stories, still considered one of the most important works in Italian culture, the foundation of literature in vernacular prose.

The book talks about a group of young people, seven women and three men, who remain out of town for fourteen days (the title indicates the ten days when they told the stories and not the four in which they rest), to escape the black death, raging at that time in Florence (1348). They describe in turn, to occupy the early evening hours, cutting short stories often humorous and with frequent references to eroticism. The book was cited as immoral and scandalous at many times and it was censored.

In the Decameron hundred short stories, often with a common theme, are very different from each other, since the author wants to represent everyday life in its great variety of human types, moral attitudes and the psychology of virtue and vice. The Decameron offers a unique overview of the civilization of the fourteenth century when at this time the bourgeois man was trying to create a harmonious relationship between the reality of profit and the ideology nobile knights.

As stated in the conclusion of the work, the issues that Boccaccio wanted to illustrate to the people are essentially two. In the first place, in fact, Boccaccio wanted to show to the Florentines that you can get up from whatever misfortune may effect you, just as the ten young people with the plague, which struck the city in that period. The second issue, however, is linked to the respect and regard of Boccaccio towards women, for he writes that this work is dedicated to them.