Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Born in the town of Certaldo, he became so well known as a writer that he was sometimes simply known as "the Certaldese" and one of the most important figures in the European literary panorama of the fourteenth century.
Some scholars (including Vittore Branca) define him as the greatest European prose writer of his time, a versatile writer who amalgamated different literary trends and genres, making them converge in original works, thanks to a creative activity exercised under the banner of experimentalism. His most notable works are The Decameron, a collection of short stories which in the following centuries was a determining element for the Italian literary tradition, especially after Pietro Bembo elevated the Boccaccian style to a model of Italian prose in the sixteenth century, and On Famous Women.
Early Life and Education
Giovanni Boccaccio was born out of wedlock in Certaldo, a small town near Florence. His father, a wealthy merchant named Boccaccio di Chellino, was an alderman of Florence and a close friend of Dante Alighieri. His mother, a young woman named Giovanna, was a servant in the Chellino household.
Boccaccio spent his early years in Florence, where he received a good education. He studied at the University of Florence, where he focused on Latin literature and the classics. He also studied law, but he found it boring and gave it up after a few years.
In 1333, Boccaccio moved to Naples with his father, who had been appointed to a position in the royal court. Boccaccio spent the next ten years in Naples, where he was exposed to a wide range of intellectual and cultural influences. He met many of the leading scholars and poets of the time, including Petrarch, who became his mentor and friend.
Boccaccio began writing in his early twenties. His first major work was the Filocolo, a romance novel written in the style of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. He also wrote a number of other poems and sonnets, many of which were inspired by his love for a woman named Fiammetta.
In 1341, Boccaccio returned to Florence. He continued to write, and he soon became one of the most famous writers in Italy. His most famous work, The Decameron, was completed in 1353. The book is a collection of 100 stories told by ten young people who have fled the Black Death in Florence. The stories range from the comedic to the tragic, and they explore a wide range of themes, including love, death, and social justice.
The Decameron is Boccaccio's most famous work. It is a collection of 100 stories told by ten young people who have fled the Black Death in Florence. The stories range from the comedic to the tragic, and they explore a wide range of themes, including love, death, and social justice.
The Decameron is divided into ten days, each with its own theme. The first day is devoted to stories about the nobility; the second day is devoted to stories about adventures; the third day is devoted to stories about love; the fourth day is devoted to stories about courtesy; the fifth day is devoted to stories about jokes and tricks; the sixth day is devoted to stories about wit and repartee; the seventh day is devoted to stories about fables and parables; the eighth day is devoted to stories about love; the ninth day is devoted to stories about magnificent actions; and the tenth day is devoted to stories about the return to Florence.
The Decameron is a masterpiece of Italian literature. It is a rich and complex work that has been praised for its storytelling, its characterization, and its exploration of human nature.
In addition to The Decameron, Boccaccio also wrote a number of other works, including: