Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson

On this day, 6 October 1478, the plague had made its way to Florence. The diarist and apothecary, Luca Landucci, describes how, “at this time there were about 100 sick of the plague, at the hospital of La Scala, and at many houses in Florence; amongst others a man was found dead upon one of the benches of Santa Maria Novella.”

During the weeks that followed, Luca continues to record the devastating effects of the disease. On October 11, he tells of a a boy who, “was found sick of the plague at the gate of the hospital of San Pagolo, and nobody could be found to carry him to the hospital of La Scala.” Three days later, he recalls how “a sick woman on her way to La Scala, the attendants helping and supporting her by the arms, but when she got as far as the hospital of the Porcellana, she fell dead; so one may say that the plague is exceedingly serious.”

Images: Gaetano Zumbo,  Detail of The Effects of the Plague, 17th century, sculpted wax, Museo della Specola, Florence. Wikimedia Commons.  

References:  Luca Landucci, A Florentine Diary From 1450-1516 by Luca Landucci: contiued by an anonymous writer ‘till 1542 with notes by Iodoco del Badia. Trans. Alice de Rosen Jervis, London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1927, pp. 24-25. 

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