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Angelo Firenzuola

Florence, 1493-Vaiano, 1543
Angelo Firenzuola

Michelangelo Gerolamo Giovannini da Firenzuola (known as Agnolo Firenzuola) was born in Florence on September 28, 1493, into a humanist family. He studied in Siena and Perugia. Upon finishing his studies, he entered the Vallombrosan Order of Benedictine monks and moved to Rome where he lived a period of intense literary activity. In these years he wrote an epistle in defense of women (Epistola in difesa delle donne, 1525) and a compendium of dialogues dedicated to his girlfriend, Costanza Amaretta, which were later collected under the title Ragionamenti (1548). Parallel to this period, Firenzuola also devoted himself to the realization of an updated translation of Apuleyo's The Golden Donkey. In 1526, after some uncertain vicissitudes, he obtained a dispensation from his vows and underwent a period of isolation. He returned to Florence almost a decade later and settled in Prato, where he lived a few happy years of great literary production. It was precisely at this time that he wrote his most famous works such as I dialoghi della beauty delle donne (1541) and La prima veste dei discorsi degli animali (published posthumously in 1548). During his period in Prato, he contributed to the founding of the Accademia dell’Addiaccio and composed the works I Lucidi and Trinunzia following the classic comedy canons of the time. The last years of his life were spent as a pensioner of the Abbey of San Salvatore de Vaiano, where he died in absolute solitude on June 27, 1543.

Agnolo Firenzuola devoted his life to study and writing and made known to the public his deep admiration for aesthetics and feminine beauty. Some of the texts that Firenzuola wrote at different times in his life are collected in the anthological work Prose, published posthumously in 1548.