Villani, Giovanni

Villani, Giovanni

Villani, Giovanni (jōvänˈnē vēl-läˈnē), c.1275–1348, Italian historian of Florence. As a Florentine government functionary, he participated in some of the events he narrates. His 12-volume history of Florence, written as a universal history from ancient times to 1348, is quite reliable for events during Villani's own time. An early monument of Italian prose, it helped fix the Tuscan language as the Italian standard. Villani died in the plague.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Villani, Giovanni


Born in the second half of the 13th century in Florence; died there in 1348. Florentine chronicler and statesman.

During 1316-1321, Villani was a priore (member of the government) of the Florentine republic. His chronicle, dedicated to the history of Florence, brings the exposition of events up to 1348 and contains rich and sufficiently precise material on Florentine economics.

It also provides a summary of political events in Italy in the first half of the 14th century. The author reflects the moods of the popolo grasso. In his works a medieval world view is combined with a realism in the description of events that is characteristic of the Renaissance. Villani’s brother Matteo continued the chronicle to the year 1363, and then a nephew, Filippo, brought it up to 1364.


Cronica. Florence, 1923.


Rutenburg, V. I. Narodnye dvizheniia v gorodakh Italii XIVnachala XV vv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958. Pages 331-32.
Fiumi, E. “La demografia fiorentina nelle pagine di G. Villani.” Archivio Storico Italiano, vol. 108, 1950, pp. 78-158.
Fiumi, E. “Economia e vita privata dei fiorentini nelle rivelazioni statistiche di G. Villani.” A rchivio Storico Italiano, vol. Ill , 1953, pp. 207-41.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Among the Florentines Gilson considers are Coluccio Salutati, Filippo Villani, Giovanni Gherardi da Prato, Cino Rinuccini, Leonardo Bruni, Francesco Filelfo, Matteo Palmieri, Leon Battista Alberti, Angelo Poliziano, and Lorenzo de' Medici.