New: Opere Brunetto Latino || Dante vivo || White Silence



Download and split screen with https://www.florin.ms/Romola.html The oral reading of the novel is available on Librivox: https://librivox.org/romola-by-george-eliot/ but errs in titling the preface 'Prologue' and not Eliot's echoing of Savonarola's 'Proemio'.


Map: 1 Dante House and Loggia dei Cerchi; 2 Mercato Vecchio and Corso dei Adimari to 3 Duomo and its Piazza San Giovanni; 4 Ponte Vecchio; 5 Oltrarno, Via dei Bardi; 6 Borgo Pinti and its Porta a' Pinti; 7 Palazzo del Popolo, della Signoria and its Piazza; 8 Badia fiorentina and Corso degli Albizzi  9 Piazza Ognissanti; 10 San Marco; 11 Santissima Annunziata; 12 Rucellai Gardens; 13 Via Valfonda; 14 Ponte Rubaconte and Piazza de' Mozzi; 15 Santa Croce and its Piazza; 16 Borgo and Porta La Croce; 17 Porta San Gallo ->Trespiano; 18 Impruneta->San Gaggio->Florence; 19 San Stefano; 20 Oltrarno, San Miniato; 21 Bargello; 22 Viareggio; 23 Oltrarno, Porta San Frediano; 24 Ponte alla Carraia; 25 Ponte Santa Trinità. You can also explore these places using Google Earth.

Map of Florence, Augustus Hare, Florence

George Eliot published her carefully-researched historical novel set in Renaissance Florence, Romola, first in Cornhill Magazine serially with Frederic Lord Leighton's illustrations for it, his drawings now in the Houghton Museum, Harvard University, which were executed as mirror-reversed engravings by John Swain and others for being printed, and next included in book form, London: Smith, Elder, 1863, a de luxe limited edition of a 1000 copies of the same being printed in 1888. Guido Biagi, next, in 1906, edited the novel from his perspective as a scholarly Florentine librarian, London: Fisher Unwin, 1907, filling two volumes of the text with photographs between almost every three pages showing the buildings George Eliot had seen and used, many of which no longer exist, being destroyed in the Risorgimento and in World War II or which have been altered, as well as authograph documents, etc. Both Leighton and Biagi had intimate knowledge of Florence, Leighton having studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Biagi being librarian of the Magliabecchian and Laurentian libraries. All three were celebrating and teaching Florence's former greatness, blending, as had Dante Alighieri in the Commedia, fact with fiction, history with romance, in order to share Florentine learning with everyone, all three clearly understooding, also, the partnership between art and literature. Frederic Leighton carried out similar homage to the other great English woman writer of Florence, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, illustrating her "Musical Instrument"'s figure of Pan, then designing her tomb in Florence's English Cemetery, placing on its first harp the head of the god Pan from the Giardino Torrigiani, at the same time that George Eliot was writing Romola, while his sister, Mrs Sutherland Orr, wrote Robert Browning's official biography. Everything in Florence is 'intrecciato', intertwined, particularly the Anglo-Florentines and their love of the city with their crafting in their art and literature a 'golden ring twixt Italy and England'.

Guido Biagi's Introduction to the edition of Romola he edited in 1907:


In this "historically illustrated" edition of the most classical romance of modern English literature it will be interesting to attempt an investigation, new, curious, and engrossing, of the historical foundation upon which is based this work of art and fiction, to try to discover the hidden scaffolding which supports it, and see what materials have been employed in the building
to apply, in short,the Roentgen rays of criticism to the fair form of "Romola" in order to behold the historical skeleton divested of all clothing of romance or embellishment of art and imagination.
Such an investigation could not be attempted without great difficulty in the case of an Italian author, in whom certain national ideas and historical knowledge had, through long habit of study and surroundings, been so thoroughly absorbed as to become, as it were, part of his flesh and blood. But when, on the contrary, we have to do with a stranger in the land, who made but a brief sojourn amidst the scenes he was about to describe, it should not be difficult, amongst the records of things seen and books read and studied, to trace the source of that inspiration under the influence of which his work appeared to him first vaguely and indistinctly, little by little assuming definite shape and form. For in the unconscious working of our creative faculties lies hidden the mechanism of dreams, which, arising from things seen and remembered, sometimes soar to visions of serene beauty peopled with graceful radiant fancies. But that reality, whence the dream was born and took its flight, often appears to those who seek it behind the golden clouds of the dream to be very mean and bare; and yet, without that first impulse derived from the reality, the fanciful creation would never have come into being, just as without an inventive genius these germs of fact would have remained inactive and wasted.How many there are who pass through some lovely country, treading upon the poetry of the land as upon stones, and who afterwards marvel that they should have been there, yet have seen nothing. How many had read the chronicles of Florence and studied the great drama of Savonarola without even dreaming that against that historical background could arise, pure and stately as an antique statue, the noble figure of Romola?
To Mary Ann Evans, better know as George Eliot, as to all elect souls in whom is inborn the love of Italy, a journey through the classic land of memories must have seemed like the realization of a long-cherished dream, almost the fulfilment of a religious vow. In the middle of the last century the present too easy means of communication had not yet robbed that pilgrimage of all its poetry, and travellers journeyed by post-chaise and diligence, putting up in tiny hamlets and isolated villages, where they were brought into far closer contact with men and things, and received from them impressions far more vivid and exact than is possible nowadays. Then the traveller could dawdle on the way as long as he pleased and admire a fine view or building without feeling compelled by the necessity of travel to hurry on in search of fresh impressions: and a journey to Italy represented to a superior and educated minds "the enlargement of our general life, rather with hope of the new element it would bring to our culture, than with the hope of immediate pleasure."
And it seemed to Miss Evans that this dream was about to be realized, in order to "absorb some new life and gather fresh ideas," just at the time when George Eliot, the famous but still mysterious author of "Scenes of Clerical Life" and of "Adam Bede," had completed the last page of "The Mill on the Floss," dedicating to her life-long companion, George Henry Lewes, that third chef-d'oeuvre: "written in the sixth year of our life together." in a calm, conscious, unprejudiced communion of the affection and intellect. The author had brought to a mournful close the record of her thoughtful girlhood "on the banks of the Floss," and now spread her wings for flight to higher and more impersonal conceptions. On the 21st of March, 1861, she wrote this sentence in her diary: "We hope to start for Rome on Saturday, the 24th: Magnificat anima mea!"
Mary Ann Evans had retained a very vivid impression of Italy. On arrival at Genoa from Turin, which latter city they had reached by way of the Monte Cenis, travelling partly in diligences and partly in sleighs, she remembered having been there eleven years previously, in June 1849; when she was in great grief after her father's death and sought distraction in a short trip on the continent in the company of her friends, the Brays. "I was here," she wrote in her diary, "eleven years ago, and the image that visit had left in my mind was surprisingly faithful, though fragmentary." The view of Genoa with "the masts of the abundant shipping" was still the same, but not so was the mind of her who gazed upon it.
From Genoa they went by sea to Leghorn, thence to Pisa; then by way of Leghorn again, to Civitavecchia, where they took the train to Rome, crossing the desolate Campagna "crowded with asphodels, inhabited by buffaloes," with occasionally the sight of some sombre hawk winging its flight across the plain. After Roma they paid a brief and fatiguing visit to Naples and its surroundings, Pozzuoli, Baja, Capo Miseno, Capodimonte, Poggio Reale, Pompei, also to the Museum, and farther still, to Salerno, Paestum, Amalfi, Cava, and Sorrento. Then, leaving this smiling land and sky, they returned to Leghorn by sea, touching at Civitavecchia, and finally the two pilgrims reached Florence, arriving there on the 17th of May and remaining until the 1st of June.
That Florentine springtime, seen and felt in the communion of two elect souls, whose exquisite culture rendered doubly keen the delight of the enjoyment, those radiant days spent amidst the marvels of art and the enchantment of nature clothed in all her wealth of flower, whilst Italy and her people abandoned themselves in hopeful confidence to all the enthusiasm aroused by their newly acquired liberty, all this must have made upon the mind of the author an everlasting impression of keen delight and indescribable longing.
In Rome they had had "the very worst Spring that has been known for the last twenty years," and that city, in which, at that period, the stranger was struck chiefly by two things, the cobble paving and the mud, had certainly not shown itself under its best aspect. Moreover, the great metropolis with its immensity, its historical buildings, its ruins of two worlds and two civilizations, seems overwhelmingly fearful and solemn to those who visit it for the first time, and neither unbends nor appeals to the passing wanderer. In order to some degree to penetrate the character and enter into the spirit of Rome, there must be visits often renewed, lonely meditations on all the meaning of that great name, frequent invokings of the past, long and thoughtful contemplation of the city under all its varied aspects, in the sunsets of its golden Autumn, in the sharp clearness of its Spring skies, the torrid heat of Summer, and the calm freshness of its starry nights. Florence, on the contrary, seems to speak directly to the heart and mind of anyone who beholds her, on some fair Spring morning, from the ethereal height of one of her verdant hills. She has had but one civilization, one period of greatness, one flower-time of art and poetry. Here was a brilliant Spring of life and youth, through the lasting vigour of which the robust and venerable trunks still flourish and from time to time burst forth in blossom; it would almost seem that the great souls of her "makers" still lived and breathed within those creations of stone and marble which glisten in the sun, immortal witnesses t centuries of thrilling history, to imperishable traditions of art and life.
George Eliot felt immediately all the suggestive charm of the Florentine landscape. "Florence looks inviting as one catches sight from the railway of its cupolas and towers and its embosoming hills, the greenest of hills, sprinkled everywhere with white villas." They took rooms in the Pension Suisse, in Via Tornabuoni, opposite the Palazzo Strozzi and the loggia of the Palazzo Corsi, which, before its restoration, faced the Via della Spada and served as the gaily-hued shop of a florist.
On that first evening of their stay in Florence the travellers "took the most agreeable drive to be had round Florence, the drive to Fiesole. It is in this view that the eye takes in the greatest extent of great billowy hills, besprinkled with white houses looking almost like flocks of sheep,
the great, silent, uninhabited mountains lie chiefly behind,the plain of the Arno stretches far to the right. I think the view from Fiesole the most beautiful of all; but that from San Miniato, where we went the next evening, has an interest of another kind, because here Florence lies much nearer below, and one can distinguish the various buildings more completely. It is the same with Bellosguardo in a still more marked degree. What a relief to the eye and the thought, among the huddled roofs of a distant town, to see the towers and cupolas rising in abundant variety as they do at Florence! There is Brunelleschi's mighty dome, and close by it, with its lovely colours not entirely absorbed by distance, Giotto's incomparable Campanile, Beautiful as a jewel. Farther on, to the right, is the majestic tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, with the flag waving above it. Then the elegant Badia and the Bargello close by; nearer to us the grand Campanile of Santo Spirito, and that of Santa Croce; far away, on the left. the cupola of San Lorenzo and the tower of Santa Maria Novella, and scattered far and near other cupolas and campaniles of more significant shape and history."
As appears from these pages of her diary, the topography of Florence had firmly fixed itself in her artist's memory on her first panoramic view of it, and the first germ of that wonderful construction of the ancient city found in the Proem to "Romola" was unconsciously evolved in the calm moonlight night when, on the arm of her beloved guide, philosopher and friend, she stood on the heights of Fiesole gazing down in fertile admiration at the city of ivory and stone, and the silver streak of the Arno stretching away westward down the luminous valley like some bright diaphanous dream of the Spring.
The short stay of a fortnight was entirely devoted to exploring the city, its churches, buildings, frescoes, galleries, and to gathering in a rich treasure of impressions and memories. They admired the "paradise gates" of the Baptistery, but the interior seemed to them "almost awful, with its great dome covered with gigantic early mosaic, the pale large-eyed Christ surrounded by images of Paradise and Perdition." The interior of the 3 Cathedral, George Eliot says, "is comparatively poor and bare, but it has one great beauty, its coloured lanceolated windows." They never wearied of gazing at the old fifteenth-century palaces, beginning with the Palazzo Strozzi, built by Cronaca, perfect in its massiveness with its iron cressets and rings, as if it have been built only last year." And in the Palazzo Pitti they found "a wonderful union of cyclopean massiveness with stately regularity." They recognized and extolled, too, the magnificence of the Medici, now Riccardi Palace. "Grander still, in another style, is the 7 Palazzo Vecchio with its unique cortile where the pillars are embossed with arabesque and floral tracery, making a contrast in elaborate ornament with the large simplicity of the exterior building." The Loggia of Orcagna appeared to her "disappointing at the first glance from its sombre, dirty colour; but its beauty drew upon me with longer contemplation. The pillars and groins are very graceful and chaste in ornamentation." In the 21 Bargello, which was under repair, she had "glimpses of a wonderful inner court, with heraldic carvings and stone stairs and gallery."
These true and vivid impressions of the Florence of 1869, when there still existed the fourth circle of walls, and the gutter ran down the middle of the narrow streets, not yet overlaid with the modern paving which has raised their level and thus deprived the churches, palaces, and monuments of the steps which formed their natural pedestals,--these records of the things she saw, which were to remain as shining lights in the writer's memory, have acquired for us a singular importance. The outlines and colours of her historical background became indelibly fixed in her creative mind; Florence began to be a part of her life, to occupy a separate cell in her brain, to take possession of her thoughts with a slow, constant, but unconscious penetration.
She considered the Florentine churches "hideous on the outside," like "piles of ribbed brickwork awaiting a coat of stone or stucco," and with a daring but easy imagination she likened them to "skinned animals." At Santa Maria Novella she admired the façade by Leon Battista Alberti and the frescoes by Orcagna, which she pronounced superior to those in the Campo Santo at Pisa. At San Lorenzo the Medici Chapel seemed to her "ugly and heavy with all the precious marble"; and strange to say, she added that "the world-famous statues of Michael Angelo on the tombs in another smaller chapel, the Notte, the Giorno and the Crepuscolo, remained to us as affected and exaggerated in the original as in copies and casts." The vigorous and symbolical art of Buonarroti found no favour in the sight of one who preferred the simplicity of the primitive masters and the fragile and delicate creations of the preraphaelites.
It is easily understood, therefore, that the two friends preferred the churches of Santa Croce and the Carmine, and that chief amongst the great frescoes of Masaccio they placed the "Raising of the Dead Youth," whilst of Giotto's they singled out the "Challenge to pass through the Fire" in the series representing the history of St Francis, which picture, on account of its subject, must have made a special impression on the author.
But George Eliot had not yet seen 10 San Marco, a convent which in those days, before the unfortunate suppression of the religious orders in 1865, still maintained its customary existence as a Dominican monastery and had not yet been reduced to a cold and empty museum. The cloisters, the refectories, the halls, the chapels, the modest and spiritual little cells were still inhabited by the heirs and successors of the great Monk, and the glory halo of his martyrdom shed a light of reverence and holiness over his humble followers and the places where had been enacted the immemorable scenes of the great tragedy of Savonarola's life, and over which his spirit seemed to hover, invisible, but as ardent and living as before his body was reduced to ashes. The clausura of the rules forbade women to enter a part of the monastery, and this prohibition naturally increased and strengthened George Eliot's desire to visit the building. "The frescoes that I cared for most in all Florence were the few of Fra Angelico's that a donna was allowed to see in the convent of San Marco. In the Chapter House, now used as a guard-room, is a large crucifixion, with the inimitable group of the fainting Mother upheld by St John and the younger Mary and clasped around by the kneeling Magdalene. The group of adoring sorrowing saints on the right hand are admirable for earnest truthfulness of representation. The Christ in this fresco is not good, but there is a deeply impressive original crucified Christ outside in the cloisters; St Dominic is clasping the cross and looking upward at the agonized Saviour whose real, pale, calmly enduring face is quite unlike any other Christ I have seen."
The artistic explorations continued, "That unique Laurentian Library, designed by Michael Angel: the books ranged on desks in front of seats, so that the appearance of the library resembles that of a chapel with open pews of dark wood. The precious books are all chained to the desks, and here we saw old manuscripts of exquisite neatness, culminating in the Virgil of the fourth century and the Pandects, said to have been recovered from oblivion at Amalfi, but falsely so said, according to those who are more learned than tradition,"
And herein we may see the hand of the Mentor, the learned friend and companion, who corrected the mistakes of guidebooks and local cicerones.
After the Laurentian Library came Or San Michele, the Ufizi, the Palazzo Pitti, the Accademia, Galileo's Tower, and then after an excursion to Siena, they visited the house of Buonarroti and the Cenacolo of Foligno, which was then close to the Egyptian Museum. They had chosen "the quietest hotel in Florence," in order to avoid tourists and not be "in a perpetual noisy picnic . . ., obliged to be civil, though with a strong inclination to be sullen." Precisely at that time Tuscany was "in the highest political spirits, and of course Victor Emmanuel, 'Il Re Libratore,' stares at us at every turn here, with the most loyal exaggeration of moustache and intelligent meaning. But we are selfishly careless about dynasties just now, caring more for the doings of Giotto and Brunelleschi than for those of Count Cavour."
That year, for ever beloved and glorious in the memories of all good Italians, was the year that saw Garibaldi's heroic deeds in Sicily. And even the weather contributed its enchantment to that springtime of the new kingdom of Italy. "We are particularly happy in our weather, which is unvaringly fine without excessive heat." And when, on the evening of the first of June, they left Florence in the diligence, by the Bologna road, "travelling all night, until eleven the next morning," to reach the city of towers, the plan of the book was already determined and George Eliot was able to confide it, as a secret, to Major Blackwood, "There has been a crescendo of enjoyment in our travels; for Florence, from its relation to the history of Modern Art, has roused a keener interest in us even than Rome, and has stimulated us to entertain rather an ambitious project, which I mean to be a secret from everyone but you and Mr John Blackwood." And when an author thus confesses to a publisher, the book is either already written or must be written without fail.
From Bologna the travellers went to Ferrara, Padua, and Venice, but the new impressions did not succeed in effacing their memories of Florence, "Farewell, lovely Venice! and away to Verona, across the green plains of Lombardy; which can hardly look tempting to an eye still filled with the dreamy beauty it has left behind." From Verona they went to Milan, to Como, and across the Splugen to Zurich, and then, after brief halts at Berne and Geneva, they returned home. "We found ourselves at home again, after three months of delightful travel." On the first of July, George Eliot reached her own house again, her thoughts still full of that "unspeakably delightful journey, one of those journeys that seem to divide one's life in two, by the new ideas they suggest and the new veins of interest they open."
Meanwhile the hazy plan of the novel had assumed a definite form and the secret had been completely revealed to Mr John Blackwood. "I think I must tell you the secret, though I am distrusting my power to make it grow into a published fact. When we were in Florence I was rather fired with the idea of writing a historical romance--scene, Florence; period, the close of the fifteenth century, which was marked by Savonarola's career and martyrdom. Mr Lewes has encouraged me to persevere in the project, saying that I should probably do something in historical romance rather different in character from what has been done before."
But in the meantime, before the echo of the great success obtained by "The Mill on the Floss" had yet died away, she had another and sudden inspiration which was in strong contrast with the great Florentine idea. "It is a story of old-fashioned village life, which has unfolded itself from the merest millet-seed of thought. It came to me, first of all, quite suddenly, as a sort of legendary tale, suggested by my recollection of having once, in early childhood, seen a linen weaver with a bag on his back." And on the 10th of March, 1861, "Silas Marner" was finished and the author thought longingly of returning again to Florence in the Spring, to gather fresh colouring for her cherished design.
On the 19th of April, they "set off on their second journey to Florence, through France and by the Cornice Road. The weather was delicious, a little rain, and they suffered neither from heat nor from dust." The Cornice road was indeed delightful in that lovely weather, and the view marvellous. From Toulon they had travelled by the carrier, and after the necessary stoppages they reached Florence on the 4th of May, going to lodge at the Albergo della Vittoria on the Lungarno. "Dear Florence was lovelier than ever on this second view, and ill-health was the only deduction from perfect enjoyment."
The two friends were full of content; from London came excellent notices of the success of "Silas Marner," and this fresh triumph encouraged the author to begin a new novel. "I feel very full of thankfulness for all the beautiful and great things that are given me to know; and I feel, too, much younger and more hopeful, as if a great deal of life and work were still before me" Their spirits rose in the Florentine atmosphere. "I have had great satisfaction in finding our impressions of admiration more than renewed on returning to Florence: the things we cared about when we were here before seem even more worthy than they did in our memories. We have had delightful weather since the cold winds abated, and the evening lights on the Arno, the bridges, and the quaint houses are a treat that we think of beforehand."
On this second visit there was less wandering about, but more meditation and more work. "We have been industriously foraging in old streets and old books," she wrote. George Eliot was preparing for her new venture, entering thoroughly into the life of her subject, since, like all true artists, she could write of nothing with which she was not, heart and mind and soul, in sympathy.
To be able to write she must also feel "that it was something, however small, which wanted to be done in this world," and that she was "just the organ for that small bit of work."
In this work of preparation and comparison George Henry Lewes rendered the greatest possible assistance. He was "in continual distraction by having to attend to my wants, going with me to the Magliabecchian Library, and poking about everywhere on my behalf," she having "very little self-help of the pushing and inquiring kind." They spent their time collecting materials and information and admiring the surrounding country and the views. One evening they mounted to the top of Giotto's Tower, a feat requiring much exertion, but for the most part they contented themselves with observing from the windows of their hotel "the various sunsets, shielding crimson and golden lights under the dark bridges across the Arno. All Florence turns out at eventide, but we avoided the slow crowds on the Lungarno and took our way up all manner of streets."
They arrived in Florence on the 4th of May, and they left on the 7th of June. "Thirty-four days of precious time spent there. Will it be all in vain?" was the question George Eliot asked herself. "Our morning hours were spent in looking at streets, buildings, and pictures, in hunting up old books at shops or stalls, or in reading at the Magliabecchian Library."
We have been fortunate enough to discover several documents of singular curiosity and importance in connection with this long and concluding sojourn in Florence, when the romance of Savonarola was assuming its actual form in the mind and the creative imagination of the author. We take a pleasure, in certain historical researches, in imitating the methods, sometimes, perhaps, rather suspicious methods, pursued by a clever detective when seeking the material proofs of something that has happened; for it is the fate of all human deeds, whether good or evil, always to leave some trace behind them. It may happen, however, that through distance of time and place these traces cannot be discovered, that either carelessness or chance has destroyed them; but this is no reason for denying that the fact ever occurred and that the traces of it ever existed; we should have groped and searched diligently whenever there was a chance, and something would surely have been brought to light. It was this consideration, given the fact that George Eliot and George Henry Lewes had really studied in the Magliabecchian Library, that led me to think that some trace, some record of these studies might still be found there. But during the forty-four years from 1861 until the present time, the Magliabecchian Library has passed through so many vicissitudes, so many other collections of thousands of thousands of volumes have been added to the original collection left by Antonio Magliabecchi, there have been so many transformations and rearrangements that any search of this description seemed wellnigh hopeless. Only the old reading hall, which had been built in the former Medicean Theatre,
the great hall with its two huge windows, and the staircase at the end, and the bust of Magliabecchi smiling grimly at the readers,is still exactly as it was when George Eliot and George Henry Lewes sat down at their studies at one of those massive walnut tables.

There is the same peaceful stillness, barely disturbed even by the greater number of readers: upon the shelves, with their ornamental brass gratings, the same books await their turn to be read; nor is there wanting some attendant who, in the May of 1861, might have noticed the repeated visits of those two foreigners. An ancient priest, in greasy skull-cap and snuffy cassock, then presided over the books, keeping beside him as a guide the "Index librorum prohibitorum." Another Cerberus, equally snuffy, kept guard over the receipts for all books given out,
receipts which the students were obliged to sign and file, and which were cancelled with the Library stamp when the books were returned.
Knowing this old formality in the library economy of those days, it occurred to me to search through the receipts of that year, still preseerved at the top of a cupboard, in the office of the archives, and from amongst those dusty bundles of many Italian students, since become famous;
such as Alessandro d'Ancona, Enrico Nencioni. and Ferdinando Martini;and names of many obscure and humble persons who continued to frequent the Library even in later years when I myself went there to study, before entering on my career as a librarian. There were not many readers,perhaps fifteen or twenty at the most; and they went there rather to read through one book than to consult several, often requesting the same volume for weeks together. From George Eliot herself I found not a single receipt; but there were a number signed G.H. Lewes, to whom she left all the trouble and labour of those learned investigations in which she was not accustomed.
Their first visit was paid on the 15th of May, and the first book they sought was some illustrated work which would give them an idea of the costumes of the period. They were given Ferrario's "Costume Antico e Moderno," of which they examined the volumes dealing with Italy. The author wished to obtain some knowledge of the historical surroundings of her story, and to know in what materials to dress her characters; and for this purpose a book somewhat superficial and theatrical, as is that of Ferrario, could be of service. On the following day they must have spent a longer time in the Library, because their researches were more extended and could not have been carried out without the assistance of one of the Library attendants. They had the "Malmantile," by Lippi, a comic poem which is a perfect mine of phrases, proverbs, and quaint sayings, fully illustrated and explained by Canon A.M. Biscioni; and it was doubtless in these instructive notes that George Eliot found many of the jests and sayings which she was pleased to insert in her novel in order that her characters might speak the language of the period of which they wore the dress. But the historical reconstruction and the scene could not be confined only to the personages of the story,
the background of the picture and the scenery must correspond with all the rest; and hence in the "Firenze illustrata", by Leopoldo del Miglione, and in "Firenze Antica e Moderna," by Rastreli, we find them studying the aspect of the city at the end of the fifteenth century, its topography and its various changes.
Besides printed books, they consulted manuscripts; and from the "Priorista," by Luca Chiari, which bore the pressmark "Classe XXVI, Cod 36, Palch, 1," they obtained the first idea of the gorgeous magnificence with which they used to celebrate the Feast of St John, with the homage of the various tributary towns, the cars, the races, and the painted tapers of extraordinary size. the illustrations from Del Migliore and from Chiari, which we have reproduced, correspond fully with the descriptions of places and ceremonies which she gives in her novel with an almost excessive profusion of detail. But that was a mental necessity with her, which she herself recognized. "It is the habit of my imagination to strive after as full a vision of the medium in which a character moves as of the character itself." It is not surprising, therefore, that in order to satisfy this need, she eagerly read any book whence she might derive precise ideas and knowledge of the manners and customs of those days. On the 17th of May they consulted the "Chronichette, Antiche della Città di Firenze," but probably with little advantage. On the 18th, they examined four other works; namely the "Diario," by Buonaccorsi, the "Istorie Fiorentine" by Cavalcanti, the "Istorie Firoentine," by Nerli, and the "Opere Volgari," by Poliziano. On the 19th, they studied "Marietta dei Ricci," by Agostino Demollo, a historical romance whose chief merit lies in the learned wanderings from the main subject and in the notes on the families of old Florence appended by Luigi Passerini. From these notes George Eliot undoubtedly derived her first knowledge of the Bardi family, to whose genealogical tree she added the ever-memorable figure of Romola.

[Guido Biagi (henceforth GB), I.xxxii.  Among the library slips not shown here is that for 'Poliziano Opere in volgare  1503, 18 Maggio, GHLewes'. George Eliot was consulting primary sources.]

During four days, from the 19th to the 24th, they did not go to the Library. But on the 24th they returned to study again "Marietta dei Ricci," and in vain to seek out in Litta's book of Italian families, "Le Famiglie del Litta," the pedigree of the Bardi. For now Romola, the Antigone of Bardo Bardi, was already created, and George Eliot could take her to England and weave around her the fabric of her romance, the costumes, surroundings, language, and historical and genealogical background for which she had studied in those few days at the Magliabecchain Library, reserving the actual making of her romantic plot to be done when she should reach her home.
After an excursion to Camaldoli and La Vernia, "which is perched upon an abrupt rock rising sheer on the summit of a mountain," where they saw the grave and solemn Franciscans "turning out at midnight (and when there is deep snow for their feet to plunge in) and chanting their slow way up to the little chapel perched at a lofty distance above their already lofty monastery," they returned to London to the quiet house, 16 Blandford Square, where George Eliot felt herself "in excellent health and longed to work steadily and effectively."
She immediately began her studies and the varied reading required for the elaboration of her book, her work relieved by walks with George Lewes, during which "we talked of the Italian novel." But the construction of the romance proved full of difficulties, often overwhelming her with anxiety and discouragement. She felt she no longer knew how to write, that she was no longer capable of inventing a plot, and that she ought to give up her work. Her diary is full of those alternating feelings, these continued heights of joy and depths of despair. "This morning I conceived the plot of my novel with new distinctness," she wrote on the 20th of August. Then, on the 4th of October, "My mind still worried about my plot, and without any confidence in my ability to do what I want." But three days later, on the 7th of October, she wrote, "Began the first chapter of my novel."
With this beginning, however, she was not satisfied and resumed her reading, burying herself in the story of Nerli and of Nardi, "so utterly dejected that in walking with George in the Park, I almost resolved to give up my Italian novel." But on the 10th of November a new prospect seemed to open before her, and she had a "new sense of things to be done in my novel, and more brightness in my thought . . . .This morning the Italian scenes returned upon me with fresh attraction." She experienced renewed pleasure in her Italian subject, and felt again captivated by its charm and attractions. In order, then to bring it more vividly before her mind, she went "to the British Museum reading-room, for the first time, looking over costumes." On Sunday, the 6th of December, whilst walking with Lewes "in the morning sunshine, I told him my conception of my story, and he expressed great delight. Shall I ever be able to carry out my ideas? Flashes of hope are succeeded by the long intervals of dim distrust."
Meanwhile she continued her reading of erudite books. She had finished the eight volumes of Lastri's "Osservatore Fiorentino," which she almost learned by heart, and which is the more immediate source of all her information about old Florence, and had commenced Book IX of Varchi's "Storie," "in which he gives an accurate account of Florence." On the 12th of December she finished writing out her plot,
of which, however, she made several other drafts before really beginning to write the book. What a solid and conscientious foundation of study, how much hard reading, all in preparation for a work of fiction and imagination! Of the books perused during these long readings we find a long list in her diary, with the titles more or less correct. Amongst these we naturally find the work from which George Eliot obtained the greatest amount of information about Savonarola and his times, namely, "La vita di G. Savonarola," by Pasquale Villari, which had then only just been published and was attracting the attention of the whole learned world, and which came to be recognized as a masterpiece of historical criticism. Of this book, for some unknown reason, we find only a cursory mention in a note to the novel and in that confused list of authors consulted by her, whilst in reality we must attribute to this work a large share of the inspiration which led her to write about Florence and the Dominican martyr who was one of the two principal figures in the novel. Indeed, her use of the most important scenesthat in which Baldassare Calva makes his first appearance, when he meets Tito Melema on the steps of the Cathedralshe is indebted directly to Villari, the only writer who, on the authority of the manuscript chronicles of Parenti and Cerratani (to which George Eliot certainly had no access), describes the fray which arose for the liberation of the Lunigiana prisoners, a scene of which she made dramatic use in the second chapter of Book II, entitled "The Prisoners." And who does not know the important part of this liberation of the prisoners plays in the plot of "Romola"? But amongst the sources, more or less direct, whence the material of the novel was derived, like the "Novelle" of Sacchetti (for the scene in the Mercato Vecchio and for the chapter entitled "A Florentine Joke") and the "Veglie piacevoli" of Domenico Maria Manni (for the character of the barber Nello, modelled upon that of his great predecessor, the jolly poet Burchiello), none, in my opinion, is equally important with that work which suggested to the author such a fundamental point in her story.
In January, 1862, George Eliot wrote in her diary, "I began again my novel of 'Romola,'" and set to work seriously,--a great difficulty being the necessity of immediately gathering new and correct partculars, which she sought to obtain on the 26th of January, about Lorenzo de' Medici's death, about the possible retardation of Easter, about Corpus Christi Day, about Savonarola's preaching in the Lent of 1492. It is not easy to imagine the care and industry with which she studied every detail, every trifle of historical interest. She twice read through Machiavelli's "Mandragora" and the "Calandra" by Bernardo Dovizi for the sake of Florentine expressions, and she was never satisfied with the result of her  labours. On the 31st of January she read to George Lewes "the proem and opening scene of her novel, and he expressed great delight in them."

GB I.1

By the middle of February she had completed the first two chapters, in addition to the admirable Proem, but the author was still swayed between hope and fear. "I have been very ailing this last week, and have worked under impeding discouragement. I have a distrust in myself, in my work, in others' loving acceptance of it, which robs my otherwise happy life of all joy. I ask myself, without being able to answer, whether I have ever before felt so chilled and oppressed. I have written now about sixty pages of my romance. Will it ever be finished? Ever be worth anything?" this uncertainty continued as the work of fiction gradually assumed shape and form, through all the great difficulties which her exquisite artistic taste pointed out and enabled her her inspirations, as in her other romances, written on the impulse of the moment at the dictating of her poetic and creative self-control and selection were exercised in the presentation of her imagination, forcing her to renewed efforts to rekindle it each time she took up her work again after an interval of historical or archeological research.
She had, meanwhile, accepted the offer of George Smith, the publisher, and had agreed that "Romola" should appear in the "Cornhill Magazine," and she received much encouragement and advice from Anthony Trollope, a keen and wise judge on such matters. The novel now made quicker progress, and by May the second part was finished; by June the scene between Romola and her brother in San Marco was written and she was about to commence Part IV. In October she had also written the scene between Tito and Romola and had completed Part VII, "having determined to end at the point when Romola has left Florence." In November Part VIII was ready, and in December Part IX. The novel had begun to appear in the "Cornhill Magazine" in July, 1862, and from every side came encouragement and praise.
"I have had a great deal of pretty encouragement from immense big-wigs, some of them saying 'Romola' is the finest book they ever read"; but the opinion of big-wigs has one sort of value and she preferred "the fellow-feeling of a long-known friend." The greater part of her work was now done, and the diary no longer recorded uncertainty and indecision. In May, 1863, there was wanting only this last part, and she had already "killed Tito with great excitement," and on the 9th of June, ever memorable day, she noted in her diary, "Put the last stroke to Romola
Ebenezer!" while on the first page of the manuscript she wrote the following inscription:
Romola was the fair fruit of the union between erudition and poetry, the dream-child conceived in that moonlit night in May when she stood upon the ethereal heights of Fiesole, gazing down in the white and shadowy city in the valley below. It was a long and laborious creation, and for that reason greatly beloved.
"The writing of 'Romola' ploughed into her more than any of her other books. She could put her finger on it as marking a well-defined transition in her life. In her own words, 'I began it as a young woman, I finished it an old woman.'"
Of this romance, whose poetical beginning we have seen and whose historical and artistic facts we have traced to their source, we should now like to quote some criticisms, concerning these historical contents, pronounced by various unquestionable authorities. Pasquale Villari, whose name is indissolubly linked with that of Savonarola, says, in the second edition of his monumental work, that amongst the books on this subject which have appeared during the last few years, "The one which attracted the most attention was a novel, "Romola," by George Eliot; but this admirable work of art, by the great English author added no new facts to the history, because, as was only natural, she accepted unquestioningly the conclusions already arrived at." As he had pronounced such a favourable judgment on the work of art, it may be concluded that the illustrious Italian critic deemed it also worthy of the highest praise for the reconstruction of historical scenes, and that the author was quite justified in writing, "My predominant feeling is, not that I have achieved anything, but
that great, great facts have struggled to find a voice through me and have only been able to speak brokenly."
But these very qualities of historical truth, of exact reproduction of surroundings,
tested by investigations whose results are embodied in the notes appended to the text and by the examination of numerous iconographical documents which give us a picture of Florence in the days of Savonarola, as well as by a careful research amongst the books whence the writer drew her inspiration,these qualities appear in the opinion of several recent critics, to be one of the reasons why "Romola" with all its life-like vigour, its vivid reality of representation, remains nevertheless, inferior to the other purely imaginary romances with which George Eliot has enriched English literature. A keen and genial Italian critic, Gaetano Negri, who has written two volumes of essays on the works of Marian Evans, attributes this weakness to the fact of its being a historical romance and to the literary, artistic, and political archaeology which impedes the freedom of movement and robs it of the stamp of truth.
He bluntly accused George Henry Lewes of having allowed his learning to exercise an evil influence on the genius of his companion, and of not knowing how to prevent her from running now and then into literary adventures which were for her both dangerous and hurtful. Negri, a faithful admirer of Alessandro Manzoni, wished that Lewes could have read the dissertation which the author of "Promessi posi" wrote on the subject of the historical novel, to prove that this is a form of literature not to be cultivated because "the laborious adherence to historical truth which is necessary in the historical novel, in order to form the background for the probable, hampers the action and distracts the attention from that which is really of importance; namely the analysis of the human soul and its passions. This mixture of truth and apparent truth is fatal to both; it robs the probable of the stamp of truth, and it robs the real truth of the semblance of probability; what is probable must also seem possible, and what is truth must retain its impression of reality. It is a fact that Manzoni, in spite of his theories, has given us a masterpiece which contains not only an admirable picture of the human soul. But it is certainly an instance of the exception proving the rule, because the good result has been obtained through the genius of the author, who has known how to overcome the evils of the system."
We maintain, however, that this rule does not exist, for it has been amply proved that no work of art can ever be created according to fixed rules, even though these rules be drawn up by men of genius. Manzoni's dissertation, and the arguments syllogized by him after having given Italy such a work as "Promessi Sposi," are one of the attacks of hypercriticism to which even the cleverest men are occasionally liable. But these sophisms did not prevent Sir Walter Scott from writing "The Waverley Novels," nor Alexander Dumas from inventing "The Three Musketeers," nor did they hinder Leo Tolstoi from writing "Peace and War," or Henry Stenkwicz from the creation of "Quo Vadis." It is not the fault of the historical romance if, according to some opinions, the figure of Romola does not appear in sufficiently strong relief against the historical background, whilst those of Tito Melema and Baldassarre appear, even to a sceptical critic like Gaetano Negri, more alive and more human. If there is a defect in Romola, it is the fault of her nature, her inclinations, her temperament; she is not Italian, she is an English girl, a Puritan, to whom even the ardent mysticism of Savonarola is repugnant and whose whole soul rises up in rebellion against him when he declares, "The cause of my party is the cause of God's Kingdom," to which she makes answer, "God's Kingdom is something wider, else let me stand outside it with the beings that I love." Romola has no Latin blood in her veins, none of that quick Italian blood which boils up hot and furious at every offense, ready with its scorn and its anger, but which, at the bidding of a watchful mind, is ready also to be calm and to forgive. Through all Tito's betrayals of her she never has one of those sudden outbursts and blazes of passion which are natural in an offended woman: she exhibits an unfailing self-control which chills us, a sad and resigned coldness which does not belong to the Italian nature, and was still less a characteristic of the women of the Renaissance, even then, when Classicism and the finest Hellenism had educated and civilized them. Romola is a Puritan, not a piagnona, a follower of Savonarola; Romola is English, and she bears a curious resemblance to George Eliot herself, or to what George Eliot's daughter might have been had she had one.
But, having said this much, we have no right to make further criticism or censure. Indeed, it may be urged, and with good reason, that to judge Romola as one would judge any ordinary character in any ordinary novel, as a creature who must of necessity have flesh and blood and be subject to the same passions as we ourselves, would be both unjust and inopportune and would show a total disregard of those rules of criticism so clearly laid down by Alessandro Manzoni when he advised a consideration of three points before pronouncing judgment on a work of art; namely, what was the intention of the author, was this intention good, and has the author carried out his intention. We may, indeed, in all sincerity ask ourselves whether, in creating Romola, George Eliot actually intended to create a real personage.
Romola finds herself in conflict with two widely differing worlds,
the Humanism which fell into decay after the pagan Carnival of Lorenzo dei Medici, after the splendour of the golden time of Neo-Platonism, and the Asceticism which for a brief period flourished again and proclaimed the rights of soul and spirit as against the triumph of material things. She is surrounded by ruin and dissolution; everything she loves most either abandons her or falls into evil; she loses her family, her love betrays her, her very faith itself has no comfort for her. In this sad vanishing of all she values she can truly say with the poet. "Ogni cosa al mondo è vana." Her father, her brother, and her guardian are dead, the Prophet of her faith is but a handful of ashes scattered to the winds, the two opposing factions of palleschi and piagnosi are extinguished, and Romola is left with Tessa and Monna Brigida, Lillo and Ninna, in the quiet house in the Borgo Pinti, to dream out the memory of the tempestuous past and to teach the children "that we can only have the highest happiness by having wide thoguhts and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourselves."
Romola stands out as a symbol, immaculate and strong, a symbol of the woman who, after having hoped, suffered, and loved, after all the fountains of her affections have been dried up by the fatal touch of disillusionment, turns the stream of her unsatisfied feelings towards those in misery and those who, all unconsciously and involuntarily, have offended her; she is a figure sublime and statuesque, and her name is Charity.                                                                                                                                                                            DR GUIDO BIAGI,
                 JULY 1, 1906

The entire text of the novel with these illustrations supplied by Frederic Lord Leighton and by Guido Biagi is at
https://www.florin.ms/Romola.html. This page functions as a hypertextual and archeological guide to that historical yet deconstructing romance, as it were, articulating, x-raying, its skeleton.
As with Dante's Commedia, of seven centuries ago, one can see that what is real is the scholar's investigation of Florence of the end of the fifteenth century, now six centuries ago, and its scholarly investigator of a century and a half ago, from which the novelist author articulates her fictional characters amidst real personages, blending together both real and fictional worlds, with a moral compass, in which the heroine Romola mirrors both George Eliot and the Divine Mother, who endures the loss of all scholarly and spiritual illusions with her brother's, father's, godfather's, husband's and Savonarola's deaths, while its villainous anti-hero's crime is that of maintaining in slavery both his foster father and his two wives, a theme resonating with the Victorian Florence of the Abolition of Slavery, the Risorgimento, and the Liberation of Children and of Women. George Eliot's Romola is her 'Distant Mirror' for resolving the author's own Puritanical and Victorian moral compass, renouncing a dead bookishness, those parchment scrolls Romola's ascetic brother glimpses which are, in fact, this novel's sources, her achieving self-worth in the face of false patriarchy's mortmain. George Eliot does so by juxtaposing the obedient daughter-wife to the two disobedient sons in the text, the second of whom George Eliot, masked as Baldassarre Calvo, kills off in the greatest excitement. She just may be, using the lies of a novel, herself such a liar as is Tito Melema, shrouding that self-truth with all the historical trappings of extreme scholarly research into verisimilitudewhich turn into dead parchment scrolls. We recall that she is herself part of a pattern of adultery and bigamy, George Henry Lewes, her partner, being legally married to Agnes Lewes, who, however was not faithful to him, nor he to her, they having chosen to live an open marriage. So many of her characters in this fictional novel were real people complete with Wikipedia and Enciclopedia Treccani entries and presented in fine portraits, now in great museums. While the father and daughter are not really of the Renaissance, but of the Victorian century, Bardo de' Bardi modelled on the eccentric artist scholar, Seymour Kirkup, discoverer of the portrait of Dante in the Bargello and of the death mask, Romola modelled on herself. Indeed, George Eliot's Romola looks in a mirror at herself in the text to test the efficacy of her disguise, just as earlier Nello had Tito look at his transformation. Iain McGilchrist, the neuroscientist, has noted that first person narratives activate the brain more than do novels with omniscient observers; in a sense, Romola is a first person narrative, the reader being as if Romola, who is as if a mirrroring of George Eliot's own Pilgrim's Progress. For this novel, amidst all its distancing and projection onto another, all its blending of real and virtual, is a self-examination, as Nello the Barber called it, a nosce teipsum mirror, a knowing of thyself. Two other characters also note the change in their appearance: Baldassare sees himself in the barber's hand mirror in Arezzo, and then in a puddle of water, noting his aging;  just as we find Monna Brigida initially resists, then accepts, hers. The book is as if George Eliot's own Bonfire of Vanities, her maturing. And it is ours.

Dante Alighieri, author
Dante Alighieri, character
George Eliot, author
Romola de' Bardi, character

Proem. As introduction, George Eliot here has us survey the cityscape of Florence at our feet through the eyes of a now dead Florentine in 1492. The "small, quick-eyed man"=Brunelleschi. Frati minori= Franciscan friars. Palazzo Vecchio=Old Palace, People's Palace. 8 Badia=Abbey. Santa Croce (Holy Cross)'s tower is Victorian, likewise the façades of 15 Santa Croce and of the 3 Duomo, Cathedral. 4 Ponte Vecchio=Old Bridge. Oltrarno=the other side of the Arno River. Wax ex voto images used to be hung in the 11 Santissima Annunziata (Most Holy Annunciation)'s atrium, such as one can still see in Marian shrines as at Montenero and Einsiedeln. All Florentines, until recently, because of tourism, were baptised in Florence's Baptistery of San Giovanni, Easter Saturday. marmi=marble. The Calimara was the guild for Florentine merchants trading throughout the known world.


John Brett, Bellosguardo, Tate

Frederic Leighton (henceforth FL),
1862-1863,1888, Proem, Spirit of the Past at 20 San Miniato
1492 Tito Melema came to Florence as Lorenzo il Magnifico died. He has been shipwrecked, is aided by the peddlar Bratti, and the barber Nello, ought to ransom his foster father who is now enslaved but instead uses the gems he has for that purpose for himself. Falls for the contadina peasant Tessa, and for the noble Romola in bigamy, is an anti-hero filled with anxiety about his social-climbing as a scholar. Romola assists her blind scholarly father, in place of her fanatic brother, Bernardino, now Fra Luca, who dies telling her of the vision he has of her marriage, as of parchment scrolls.

Chapter 1-The Shipwrecked Stranger
9 April 1492. Main characters in each chapter will be bolded. Fictional characters, Tito Melema, Bratti Ferravecchi (baratta=bargain), a peddlar, Monna Trecca, a greengrocer, Goro, Nello, a barber, Ser Cioni, a lawyer, Niccolo, a blacksmith. Historical persons mentioned are Antonio Pucci, a poet, Lorenzo de' Medici, the merchant prince who has just died in the presence of the Dominican, Girolamo Savonarola, an event we come to learn of in the cacaphony of market gossip.
In a sense, Bratti functions in the text like the author herself, bartering and exchanging objects, introducing people to each other, setting the plot in motion; likewise Niccolo, as blacksmith, forges its weapons of crime.
'E vedesi chi perde con gran soffi,
E bestemmiar colla mano alla mascella,
E ricever e dar di molti ingoffi.'
Mercato=market, castello=fortified village, marzolino=Tuscan sheep's cheese, mi pare=seems to me, Frati serviti=Servites of Mary, a Florentine Order, Quaresima=Lent when meat could not be eaten, Marzocco is the Lion, emblem of Florence, sculpted by Donatello. This first chapter is not easy to read, presenting as it does a babble of voices in a crowded market place, packed full of long-ago proverbs in a foreign tongue, much like Bratti's peddler pack of wares, but bear with the author, for the novel gets better.




Guido Biagi (henceforth GB), I.76, 1907

FL (henceforth FL), 1862-1863, Bratti and Tito

GB, I.106

GB, I.98

Chapter 2-A Breakfast for Love
Fictional characters, Bratti, Tito, Tessa, Monna Ghita, Nello. Historical persons mentioned, Demetrio Calcondila, Bernardo Rucellai. Mercato Vecchio
obolus=Greek coin

Chapter 3-The Barber's Shop
Fictional character, Nello, Tito. Historic persons mentioned, Lorenzo de' Medici, compared to Pericles of Athens, Demetrio Calcondila, Michele Marullo, Bernardo Rucellai, Alamanno Rinuccini, Pico della Mirandola, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Lorenzo Ghiberi, Angelo Poliziano, Burchiello,
Piero di Cosimo, Giovanni Argiropulo, Bartolomeo Scala. Nello has Tito look at himself in a Venetian mirror from Murano. Piazza San Giovanni.
'"Ingenium velox, audacia perdita, sermo
Promptus, et Isaeo torrentio

=country woman

Frederic Leighton (henceforth FL), 1862-1863,1888, Spirit of the Past at 20 San Miniato

GB, I.134

FL, Tito and Nello. The sculpture in the window is of the stele or herm of the god Pan in the Torrigiani Gardens which Leighton also placed on the first, Greek, harp he placed on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb in Florence's English Cemetery.


Chapter 4-First Impressions
Tito, Nello, Domenico Cennini, printer, Bernardo Cennini's son, Piero di Cosimo, mentioned, Francesco Filelfo, Angelo Poliziano, Pietro Cennini, Domenico's brother, Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo da Vinci. Here George Eliot is also speaking of the impressions in printing of her book and its engravings.

That Piero di Cosimo sees Tito as Sinon, the betrayer though guile of Troy (Timeo Danaos, ut dona ferentis/Beware the Greeks bearing gifts, in this case of the Trojan Horse), from Virgil's Aeneid, is prophetic of Tito's treachery.

The printer Benardo Cennini's son, Domenico

Self-portrait, Piero di Cosimo

Chapter 5- The Blind Scholars and his Daughter
Fictional characters:  Maso, the servant, Bardo de' Bardi, his daughter, Romola, Nello, Tito. Historical persons mentioned, Agnolo Poliziano, Nonnus, Hadrian, Apollonius Rhodius, Callimachs, Lucan, Silius Italicus, Petrarch, Manuelo Crisolora, Filfelfo, Argiropulo, Panhormita, Poggio, Thomas of Sarzana, Marsilio Ficino, Nicolo Niccoli, Cassandra Fedele, Demetrio Calcondila, Plautus, Quintilian, Boccaccio, Aldus Manuzio, printer, Pontanus, Merula,  Epictetus, Horace, Zeno, Epicurus    
"Libri medullitus delectant, colloquuntur, consulunt, et viva quadam nobis atque arguta familiaritate junguntur." '
"Optimam foeminam nullam esse, alia licet alia pejor sit."
"duabus sellis sedere"
"Sunt qui non habeant, est qui non curat habere."

The Palazzo de' Bardi, via de' Bardi.
Bardo dei Bardi, is modelled by George Eliot from the Victorian eccentric deaf scholar, Seymour Kirkup, who lived in via dei Bardi, and who had discovered Dante's portrait where Vasari said it was, in the Magdalen Chapel of the Bargello. The Palace was obliterated in World War II.

BG, I.182

BG, I.176

FL, Bardo and Romola, his daughter/Seymour Kirkup

Chapter 6-Dawning Hopes
Bardo, Romola, Maso, Nello, Tito. Historical person, Bernardo del Nero, others mentioned, Manuelo Crisolora, Luigi Pulci, Aurispa, Guarino, Ciriaco, Cristofero Buondelmonte, Ambrogio Traversari, Demetrio Calcondila, Aristotle, St Philip, Pausanias, Pliny, Margites, Domenico Cennini, Alessandra Scala, Bartolommeo Scala, Camillo Leonardi, Lorenzo de' Medici, Piero de' Medici
There is an echo here of Tito telling of his background to that narrated by Othello which enchants Desdemona in Shakespeare's play.
"Perdonimi s'io fallo: chi m'ascolta
Intenda il mio volgar col suo latino."

'Con viso che tocendo dicea, Taci.'


GB, I.210, Bernardo del Nero

Chapter 7-A Learned Squabble

Fictional character, Tito.
Historical persons, Bartolommeo Scala, mentioned, Agnolo Poliziano, Marsilio Ficino, Cristofero Landino, Villa Gherardesca, Porta a' Pinti, home to Bartolomeo Scala.

GB, I.232, Bartolomeo della Scala

GB, I.214, Villa Gherardesca, Borgo Pinti

GB, I.228, Villa Gherardesca, Borgo Pinti, now Four Seasons Hotel

  Angelo Poliziano - Angel Appearing to Zacharias
GB, I.154, Agnolo Politian, Laurentian Library,
who would be poisoned by the Mediceans for his support of Savonarola

Marsilio Ficino, who would be poisoned by the Mediceans for his support of Savonarola

Marsilio Ficino, Cristofero Landino, Agnolo Politian, Demetrio Calcondila

Chapter 8-A Face in the Crowd
Fictional Characters, Tito, Nello, Fra Luca, Tessa, mentioned Maestro Vaiano. Historical Persons, Piero di Cosimo, Pietro Cennini, Cronaca, Francesco Cei, Bernardo Del Nero, mentioned Queen Theodolinda, Cecca, Girolamo Savonarola. Piazza San Giovanni

"Da quel giorno in qua ch'amor m'accese
Per lei son fatto e gentile e cortese."'
Frati Predicatori=Dominicans, Giostra=tournament, Zecca=mint

GB, I.296

GB, II.6

Cassone Adimari

GB, I.244 Palio                                                  GB, I.248 Tribute of the Prisoners
George Eliot consulted this manuscript

GB, I.272  Florentine Nobles                                       GB, I. 276 Sienese Nobles

GB, I.264  Montopoli                                         GB, I.268 Candles

GB, I.256 Cart of teh Zecca, the Mint                GB, I.260 Montecarlo Cart

Chapter 9-A Man's Ransom
Fictional Characters, Tito, mentioned, Tessa, Nello, Baldassarre Calvo. Historical persons,
Domenico Cennini pays for the last jewel, a "man's ransom", mentioned, Demetrio Calcondila, Poliziano, Bernardo Rucellai .

Chapter 10- Under the Plane Tree
Fictional characters, Tito had been handed his florins from Cennini?, Tessa, Maestro Vaiano, Fra Luca. Histoical person mentioned, Lorenzo de' Medici. Scene remniscent of Samson and Deliliah.
San Martino, Badia, Porta rossa, Ognissanti, Porta del Prato, Peretola, via de' Bardi

FL, Under the Plane-Tree

FL, A Recognition. This is misplaced in the 1888 edition.

Chapter 11-Tito's Dilemma
Fictional characters, Tito, Fra Luca, Romola, Bardo, mentioned, Baldassarre. Via de' Bardi, San Marco.

Leighton's view for the initial W is of the archway by the Hospital of the Innocents in the Santissima Annunziata Square.

Chapter 12-The Prize is Nearly Grasped
Fictional characters, Tito, Maso, Bardo, Romola, Monna Brigida, mentioned, Dino=Bernardino->Fra Luca. Historical persons mentioned, Calderino, Poliziano, Thucydides, Lorenzo Valla, Pope Nicholas V, Thomas of Sarzana, Alibizzi, Accaiuoli,
Francesco Valori, Bernardo del Nero, Niccolò Machiavelli, Franco Sacchetti, Bernardo del Nero, Bartolommeo Scala, Alessandra Scala, Michele Marullo.
Piagnoni= followers of Girolamo Savonarola, named after San Marco's bell. Good Men of St Martin/Buonuomini di San Martino, Befana=cross old lady wtih broom looking for Christ Child at Epiphany
Good Men of St Martin=Buonuomini di San Martino who carry out charity.


FL, The First Kiss

Chapter 13-The Shadow of Nemesis
7 September 1492 Fictional characters, Tito, Nello, Romola, Monna Brigida, Bernardino/Fra Luca. Historic persons mentioned, Giovanni de' Medici, Bernardo Dovizi, Piero Dovizi, Piero de' Medici, Angelo Poliziano, Pietro Crinito, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Cei, Cristofero Landino, Bernardo del Nero, Cronaca.

'Quant' e bella giovinezza
Che si fugge tuttavia!

Chi vuol esser lieto sia,

Di doman non c'e certezza.

Fierucola, country market, Piazza Santissima Anunziata, San Marco,

Chapter 14-The Peasants' Fair
My friend, Giannozzo Pucci, the descendant of the historical Giannozzo Pucci in this romance, re-started the Fierucola in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, encouraging the contadini to sell their produce and their wares.
Fictional characters, Tito, Bratti, Tessa, Maestro Vaiano

andate con Dio= Go with God
berlinghozzi=lemon doughnuts eaten in Lent

FL, The Peasants' Fair

Chapter 15-The Dying Message
Ficitional characters, Romola, Monna Brigida, Fra Luca/Bernardino, Vaiano and his monkey. Historic person, Girolamo Savonarola. San Marco


FL, The Dying Message. Leighton has sketched the Fra Angelico fresco as background. George Eliot had written:
"The frescoes that I cared for most in all Florence were the few of Fra Angelico's that a donna was allowed to see in the convent of San Marco. In the Chapter House, now used as a guard-room, is a large crucifixion, with the inimitable group of the fainting Mother upheld by St John and the younger Mary and clasped around by the kneeling Magdalene. The group of adoring sorrowing saints on the right hand are admirable for earnest truthfulness of representation. The Christ in this fresco is not good, but there is a deeply impressive original crucified Christ outside in the cloisters; St Dominic is clasping the cross and looking upward at the agonized Saviour whose real, pale, calmly enduring face is quite unlike any other Christ I have seen." Fra Luca, in reality, was the Della Robbia brother who became a Dominican under Savonarola. So many artists and scholars came under his influence, among them Botticelli, Marsilio Ficino, and Agnolo Poliziano.

Chapter 16-A Florentine Joke
Fictional characters, Tito, Bratti, Nello, Niccolo the blacksmith, Maestro Tacco, Maso, mentioned, Fra Luca, Monna Ghita. Historical persons, Niccolò Machiavelli, Cronaca, Piero di Cosimo, Francesco Cei, Domenico Cennini, mentioned, Bernardo Rucellai, Piero de' Medici, Domenico Cennini, Pagolantonio Soderini, Tommaso Soderini, Fiametta Strozzi,Savonarola, Pico della Mirandola, Angelo Poliziano, Marsilio Ficino, Pope Alexander VI, Luigi Pulci, Antonio Benevieni, Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, Saint Stephen, Saints Cosmas and Damian, the Medici family's patrons,
Cecco d'Ascoli.
Maestro Tacco is tricked into doctoring Maestro Vaiano's monkey, bundled in fasces as if a baby.
"non oratorem, sed aratorem."
Piazza San Giovanni, Corso degli Adimai ->via dei Bardi.

Niccolò Machiavelli                            Bernardo Rucellai

Piero de' Medici?

Chapter 17-Under the Loggia
Romola, Tito. Romola tells Tito of Fra Luca's dying. Historical persons mentioned, Alamanno Rinucini, Bernardo del Nero. Bardi Palace.

Chapter 18-The Portrait
Fictional characters, Tito, mentioned, Baldassarre, Nello. Historical person, Piero di Cosimo, mentioned, Ovid.
Bacchus and Ariadne. Oedipus and Antigone at Colonos. Via Valfonda

Piero di Cosimo, Andromeda and Perseus

Chapter 19-The Old Man's Hope
Fictional characters, Bardo, Romola, mentioned, Tito. Historic person, Bernardo del Nero, Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, Piero de' Medici. The Library.

Chapter 20-The Day of the Bethrothal
Fictional characters, Tito, Tessa, Romola, Monna Brigida, Bardo. Historic persons, Bernardo Dovizi, Bernardo del Nero, Bartolommeo Scala, mentioned Michelangelo Buonarotti, Piero di Cosimo,
Leonardo Bruni
Tabernacle of Piero di Cosimo.
Spozalizia at Santa Croce, during Carnival.
Por Santa Maria, Porta Rubaconte, Palazzo Bardi, Santa Croce.

Bernardo Dovizi as Cardinal of Bibbiena, Raphael
Chapter 21-Florence expects a Guest
17 November
1494. Fictional character mentioned, Tito. Historical persons, Charles VIII, Savonarola, mentioned, Lorenzo de' Medici, Ludovico Sforza, Leonardo da Vinci, King Ferdinand, Prince Alfonso of Naples, Pope Alexander Borgia, Piero de' Medici.
Charles VIII of France arrives by way of the Porta San Frediano, the Medici already driven out of Florence. Tito's foster father Baldassare Calvo refusing to beg. From Duomo to Palazzo Vecchio.

Girolamo Savonarola

Chapter 22-The Prisoners
Ficitional characters, Ser Cioni, Goro, Oddo, Tito, Lollo, Baldassarre Calvo, mentioned Guccio. Historical persons, mentioned, Piero de' Medici, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Piero di Cosimo, Lunigiana prisoners. Piazza San Giovanni.

FL, The Escaped Prisoner

Chapter 23-After-Thoughts
Tito. Historical person,
Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Piero di Cosimo
Piazza San Giovanni->People's Palace

Chapter 24-Inside the Duomo
Fictional character, Baldassarre, Romola. Historic person, Savonarola.


Chapter 25-Outside the Duomo
Fictional character, Baldassarre. Historic person, Savonarola, Piero di Cosimo, mentioned, Masaccio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Francesco Valori, Soderini, Piero Capponi, Luca Corsini, Strozzi, Acciaiuoli, Fra Bartolomeo, Girolamo Benevieni, Pico della Mirandola, Niccolo Machiavelli, Dolfo Spini
Piero di Cosimo rescues Baldassare, cutting his ropes and enabling his flight from the Duomo->Santa Croce

Chapter 26-The Garment of Fear
Fictional character, Tito, Niccolo. Historic person, mentioned, Luca Corsini, Maso of Brescia
Via dei Benci, Borgo La Croce, Niccolo, the Blacksmith. Tito buys coat of mail against his father, Baldassare

FL, Niccolo, the Blacksmith, whom Frederic Leighton shows as creating the lantern still on the Palazzo Strozzi,
drawn also by Augustus Hare:

Chapter 27-The Young Wife
Fictional characters, Tito, Romola, Bardo, Maso, mentioned, Niccolo, Baldassare. Historic persons, Bernardo del Nero, mentioned, Medicis, Savonarola, Luca Corsini, Gaddi, Dolfo Spini, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Piero di Cosimo
Bardo, neglected by Tito, has died. Romola, Tito, talk of Baldassare and Piero di Cosimo.

FL, The Young Wife

Chapter 28-The Painted Record
Fictional character, Romola, mentioned, Maso. Historic person, Piero di Cosimo.

"Chi promette e non mantiene

L'anima sua non va mai bene."

Piero di Cosimo's painting of Tito, now with Baldassare, and Tito's terror, seen by Romola in his studio in Via Valfonda when she goes for her father's portrait as blind Oedipus. Self-referentiality with Frederic Leighton.

Chapter 29-A Moment of Triumph
Fictional characters, Nello, Tito, mentioned, Baldassare, Camilla Rucellai. Historic persons, Piero di Cosimo, Francesco Cei, Pietro Cennini, Cronaca, mentioned, Pico della Mirandola, Angelo Poliziano, Niccolo Macchiavelli, Franco Sacchetti, Piero Capponi, Guiantonio Vespucci, Domenico Bonsi
Piero di Cosimo in Nello's shop speaks of Baldassarre. Francesco Cei, Pietro Cennini, Pico della Mirandola dead, Agnolo Poliziano murdered two months before. Tito tells of Piero Capponi, trumpets, bells.

Chapter 30-The Avenger's Secret
Fictional characters, Baldassarre, Bratti, mentioned, Tito. Historic person, mentioned, Piero di Cosimo
Baldassare sees himsel in the barber's mirror on the road to Arezzo. Bratti Ferravecchi and the story of the ring, Baldassarre saw on the hand of a Genoese, sees himself in a pool of water. Buys poinard from Bratti with sapphire from his mother. Buys Greek book he can no longer read.

Chapter 31-Fruit is Seed
Fictional characters, Tito, Romola. Historic person, Bernardo del Nero
The French about to leave. Tito sells Romola's father's library. Romola shows Piero's painting of her father to her godfather Bernardo del Nero.

Chapter 32-A Revelation
Fictional characters, Romola, Tito. The French depart. Tito tells Romola of the library's sale. Romola, btterly, asks only to repay Bernardo del Nero.

Chapter 33-Baldassarre Makes an Appearance
Fictional characters, Baldassarre, Monna Lisa, Tessa, baby Lillo, mentioned step father Nofri, 'husband' Naldo. Via de' Bardi, Boboli Gardens

FL Tessa's baby and Baldassare

Chapter 34-No place for Repentance
Fictional characters, Tito/Naldo, Tessa, Baldassarre, Monna Lisa

Chapter 35-What Florence was Thinking of
Fictional characters, Tito, Romola. Historic persons, Pagolantonio Soderini, Guidantonio Vespucci, Savonarola, Great Council

Chapter 36-Ariadne Discrowns Herself
23 December. Fictional character, Romola, Tito, Maso, mentioned,Cassandra Fedele, Camilla Rucellai. Historic persons, mentioned, Suora Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, Bernardo Rucellai

Chapter 37-The Tabernacle Unlocked
Fictional characters, Romola, Maso,
Romola's attempt to escape, Ariadne and Bacchus, Ariadne and Theseus, Antigone and Oedipus, Andromeda and Perseus. Mirror, Letters to Tito and Bernardo del Nero, Flight. Ponte Rubaconte, Borgo Pinti, Santa Croce, Porta San Gallo, Vecchia Fiesolana, Trespiano, Bologna, Venezia.

FL, Escaped

Chapter 38-The Black Marks become Magical
Fictional characters, Tito, Baldassarre. Historic persons, Bernardo Rucellai,  mentioned, Lorenzo de' Medici's sister.
Rucellai Gardens, Via della Scala

Chapter 39-A Supper in the Rucellai Gardens
Fictional characters, Tito, Baldassarre (called Jacopo di Nola by Tito). Historic persons, Bernardo Rucellai, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Giannozzo Pucci, Niccolo Ridolfi, Piero Pitti, mentioned, Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Angelo Poliziano, Erasmus, Dante Alighieri, Antonio Pollaiuolo, Luigi Pulci, Savonarola, Francesco Valori, Pagolantonio Soderini, Cristofero Colombo, Bernardo del Nero, Dolfo Spini, Leon Battista Alberti,
"Ciascun segua, o Bacco, te:

Bacco, Bacco, evoe, evoe!"

sbirri=police, prison guards
Rucellai Gardens, Via della Scala. Leon Battista Alberti had fashioned its architecture, including the model of the Jerusalem Sepulchre. The Gardens are now destroyed.

Chapter 40-An Arresting Voice
Fictional character, Romola, mentioned, Tito. Historic person, Savonarola
Savonarola has Romola return to Tito

FL, Father, I will be Guided

Chapter 41-Coming Back
Fictional characters, Romola, Maso. Historic persons, Savonarola, Fra Salvestro Maruffi,
San Domenico, Fiesole, 24 December 1494

Chapter 42-Romola in her Place
Fictional characters, Romola, Baldassare. Historic persons,
30 October 1496 Madonna of Impruneta Florence starving, Romola assists Baldassarre at San Stefano, goes to hospital of San Matteo between the Santissima Annunziata and San Marco piazzas

Chapter 43-The Unseen Madonna
Fictional characters, Romola, Tito. Historic persons, Savonarola
Procession, Hooded Flagellants, Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Carmelites, Servites, Savonarola, Umiliati from Ognissanto, Vallombrosans, Benedictines, Arti/Guilds, Canons of Duomo, Impruneta Madonna, Tito

GB, II.192

GB, II.208, Procession of Madonna of Impruneta

Chapter 44-The Visible Madonna
Fictinal characters, Romola, Baldassarre. Historic person mentioned, Savonarola

Chapter 45-At the Barber's Shop
Fictional characters, Tito, Nello. Historic characters, Bernardo del Nero, Dolfo Spini, Niccolo Machiavelli, Domenico Cennini, Francesco Cei, Piero di Cosimo, Ser Ceccone, mentioned, Romola, Meo de Sasso, Savonarola, Pope Alexander VI, Pope Gregory XI, Piero de' Medici, Giannozzo Pucci, Fra Michele, Bartolommeo Scala, Dante Alighieri

On aging:

'Behold him ! ' said Nello, flourishing his comb and pointing it at Tito, 'the handsomest scholar in the world or in the worlds, now he has passed through my hands ! A trifle thinner in the face, though, than when he came in his first bloom to Florence—eh? and, I vow, there are some lines just faintly hinting themselves about your mouth, Messer Oratore ! Ah, mind is an enemy to beauty ! I myself was thought beautiful by the women at one time—when I was in my swaddling-bands. But now—oime! I carry my unwritten poems in cipher on my face ! '

Chapter 46-By a Street Lamp
Fictional characters, Romola, Maso, Tito . Historic persons, Dolfo Spini of the Compagnacci, mentioned, Savonarola

FL, A Dangerous Colleague

Chapter 47-Check
Fictional characters, Tito. Romola. Historical persons, Cronaca, Ser Ceccona, mentioned, Dolfo Spini, Savonarola, Bernardo del Nero
Via de' Bari->Nello's shop. Ser Ceccone (Ser Francesco di Ser Barone)

Chapter 48-Counter-check
Fictional characters, Tito, Romola, mentioned, Baldassarre/Jacopo di Nola. Historical persons mentioned, Dolfo Sini, Bernardo del Nero,
Francesco Valori

Chapter 49-The Pyramid of Vanities
Fictional characters, Romola, Monna Brigida, mentioned, Bardo. Historical persons, Piero di Cosimo, mentioned, Francesco Valori, Savonarola, Bernardo del Nero, Dolfo Spini, Fra Domenico, Boccaccio.
Piagnoni versus Compagnaccio. Piero di Cosimo

Chapter 50-Tessa Abroad and at Home
Fictional characters, Tessa, Tito/Naldo, Ninna, Lillo, Monna Lisa, Nofri, Baldassare, Bratti, Romola

Botticelli, who became an adherent of Savonarola, showed these boys in his drawing of angels in Dante's Paradiso

Chapter 51-Monna Brigida's Conversion
Fictional characters, Romola, Monna Brigida, Bratti. Historical persons, Savonarola's bonfire boys, mentioned Piero di Cosimo.

FL, Monna Brigida's Conversion

FL, Monna Brigida's Conversion
This is George Eliot's self perception of her aging as well in the figure of Monna Brigida.

Chapter 52-A Prophetess
Fictional characters, Romola, Camilla Rucellai, Baldassare. Historical person, Bernardo del Nero, Marchiavelli
Romola -> Badia

FL, A Prophetess

Camilla Rucellai, though having a historical name, is not a historical person, but a fictional one on whom George Eliot projects her dislike of women of such character. Romola flees from her threatening prophecies concerning Romola's godfather, Bernardo del Nero, to turn to the painting of St Bernard's Vision of the Madonna by Filippino Lippi, then above an altar in the Badia.

Chapter 53-On San Miniato
Fictional characters, Baldassarre, Romola->San Miniato, mentioned, Tito, Tessa


FL, Will You Help Me?

GB, II.282

Chapter 54-The Evening and the Morning
Fictional characters, Romola, Maso->
People's Palace. Historical persons, Bernardo del Nero, mentioned, Piero de' Medici at the Porta Romana, flees.

Chapter 55-Waiting
Fictional character, Romola->Duomo. Historical persons, Savonarola, mentioned Borgia Pope Alenxander VI.
June, Plague and Excommunication of Savonarola.

Chapter 56-The Other Wife
Ficitional characters, Romola, Lillo, Tessa, Ninna, Monna Lisa, Naldo/Tito, Nofri. Historical persons,
Tito tells her of Bernardo Del Nero's imprisonment and death sentence Lamberto dell'Antella, accomplice of Piero de' Medici, betraying Bernardo along with Nicolo Ridolfo, Lorenzo Tornabuoni and Giannozzo Pucci.Borgo La Croce. She remains silent to him about knowing of Tessa.

Chapter 57-Why Tito was Safe
Fictional characters, Tito, mentioned, Baldassare. Historical persons, Francesco Valori, Lambeto dell'Antella, Bernardo del Nero, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Giannozzo Pucci, Ser Ceccone, mentioned, Pontanus
  'Il tradimento a molti piace assai,
Ma il traditore a gnun non piacque mai.

Chapter 58-A Final Understanding
Fictional characters, Tito, Romola, Brigida. Historical persons, mentioned,
Piero Guicciardini, Giovan Battista Ridolfi, Francesco Valori, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Savonarola, Fra Silvestro.
Tito returns from Siena 17 August, Tito sends Romola to Savonarola.

Chapter 59-Pleading
Fictional characters, Romola, Bratti, mentioned, Dino/Fra Luca. Historical person, Savonarola, mentioned, Bernardo del Nero, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Dolfo Spini
Romola goes to Savonarola at San Marco, who is obdurate.

Chapter 60-The Scaffold
Fictional characters, Romola, Tito. Historical persons, Francesco Valori, Bernardo del Nero, Niccolo Ridolfi, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Giannozzo Pucci, Romola, Giovan Battista Ridolfi, Brother to Niccolo Ridolfi and Savonarolan, Domenico Cennini, Niccolo Machiavelli

Augustus Hare, Bargello

Chapter 61-Drifting Away
Fictional characters, Romola, Boccaccio's Gostanza, her model.


Chapter 62-The Benediction
27 February, San Marco. Fictional character, Tito. Historical persons, Savonarola, Pietro Cennini

FL, The Benediction

Chapter 63-Ripening Schemes
Fictional character, Tito, Goro. Historical persons, Savonarola, Fra Francesco di Puglia, Fra Domenico, Dolfo Spini, mentioned, Valori, Salviati, Albizzi, Ser Ceccone.
March, Lenten Sermons, Santa Croce, Ordeal by fire

GB, I.322, Santa Croce

Chapter 64-The Prophet in his Cell
Fictional characters, Tito. Historical persons, Savonarola, mentioned, Fra Domenico, Fra Mariano, Domenico Mazzinghi, Philippe de Comines, Fra Niccolo, Ludovio Sforza
'Cor mundum crea in me,'
Fra Angelico's rainbows of frescoes in the cells, Tito, Savonarola, Tito orders interception of Savonarola's letter to the French by the Milanese.

Chapter 65-The Trial by Fire
7 April. Fictional character, Tito.  Historic persons, Dolfo Spini, Marco Salviate, Savonarola, Fra Giuliano, Fra Domenico, Fra Francesco, Niccolo Machiavelli