Giovanni Boccaccio

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Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) was born in Paris, France, although his father was from Florence, Italy and he later married a Florentine. Boccaccio became one of the leading proponents of early humanism through many of his writings, after being educated in canon law.

His best known work is The Decameron. The book is set in a rural location outside of Florence, Italy where a group of 10 men and women each tell one story per day over each of 10 days.

The stories in The Decameron take a large side-swipe at both church and state of the day, and in particular the stereotyped "humble friar", cops a huge shellacking for his lack of biblical knowledge and gluttony. The works are also fairly lascivious in tone, given the 14th century setting in which they were written.

The work has often been seen as an antidote for Dante's works including The Divine Comedy.