May 23rd: the martyrdom of Savonarola

May 23rd, 1498. A tribune, set up on the steps of the Palazzo della Signoria, at the corner occupied now by Neptune, receives the highest city authorities, two envoys of the Pope, and a few dozen friars. A large crowd is waiting on the other side of the square. Around the scaffold there are straws and firewood being placed. Savonarola and two of his associates, Silvestro Maruffi and Domenico Buonvicini, were found guilty of heresy and schism. They are escorted in front of the grandstand where the reading of the judgment and undressing takes place: their hands, faces and heads are being shaved, and they are stripped of their Dominican clothes and covered with small white robes.

Salento: a magnificent place

White beaches, a turquoise seaside, luxurious dunes, art, beauty and an excellent cuisine. 8 days and 1000 kilometers without any worries in Puglia. In the beginning of summer, when reception is more attentive, spots are still available and prices are very interesting. The trip can be organized by oneself: a web research, some calls made and then off you go, if you have already been there before your enthusiasm will be renewed and if this is the first time you take this trip, even better, there are places that never betray your expectations, especially if you plan it calmly and not go during the high season.

Caterina de’ Medici Italian style at the Court of France

It has been said that the Queen would be from a beautiful and important country just like France and that on that throne, Henry II of Valois will be waiting for her, that charming young man with a blue velvet jerkin, who looked at her with eyes proud of a glorious past and full of a bright future, from the miniature that gallant ambassadors have delivered to his uncle, Pope Clemente VII de’ Medici. But their meeting before the wedding, in Marseille, October 22, 1533, was disappointing. The bridegroom, still seduced by the smooth beauty of its mature and experienced mistress, Diane de Poitiers, at the sight of this pale 14 year old girl of small royalty, bundled up in a dress too important to her, even if approved by Isabella Gonzaga, a fashion guru of the time, was so disappointed that he almost threatened to wreck the marriage.

Monna Tessa The philanthropist “nanny”

Monna Tessa, who was she? Changing the famous phrase of The Betrothed, she wasn’t a philosopher, but, according to tradition, the inspirer of the foundation of a fundamental Florentine institution; nevertheless, as much as Carneade in the Manzoni Novel, an almost forgotten figure today. She was the Portinari educator and governess, family factotum and trustworthy women; she brought up and trained Beatrice, “forbidden” and idealized love of Dante, but what makes us her precious it’s above all that she persuaded Beatrice’s father, Folco Portinari, to finance the foundation of the hospital known today as Santa Maria Nuova.

Florence Nightingale The “Lady with the Lamp”

As we approach Women’s Month, it is imperative to consider the impact women have had on society. Florence Nightingale was a woman who changed the face of healthcare and the profession of nursing. She was born in a very wealthy family of the élite British bourgeois (his father was a pioneer of epidemiology) and she was named “Florence” in honor of the city of Florence where she was born at Villa Colombaia. It’s interesting that for the same reason, the older sister, born in Naples, was called “Parthenope”. During the Crimean War, Nightingale answered the cries for proper medical care of the wounded British soldiers when an article came out in the London Times by the war correspondent, William Howard Russell.

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