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Distributed for Iter Press

The Chronicle of Le Murate

Edited and Translated by Saundra Weddle

The Chronicle of Le Murate, completed by Sister Giustina Niccolini in 1598, is one of a small number of surviving documents that presents a nun’s own interpretation and synthesis of historical events. It recounts the roughly two hundred-year history of Florence’s largest convent, which attracted boarders, nuns and patrons from Italy’s elite families. The manuscript provides a rare view of life behind the enclosure walls and of nuns interaction with the world outside. The messy vitality of this account is an important pendant to the more formal and predictable convent chronicles that dominate the genre.

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"Sister Giustina Niccolini's Chronicle of Le Murate captures both the gritty realities and the soaring spirituality of convent life in Renaissance Florence. Niccolini offers an inside look at how her community grew from a small female hermitage circa 1400 into the largest, most prominent Florentine convent by 1600. As she traces this spectacular rise, Niccolini illuminates the tenor of everyday life and the complexity of interpersonal relationships within a hothouse atmosphere. This unique chronicle also bristles with insight into such important issues as collective governance, patterns of patronage, the creation of a rich visual culture, and the decisive impact of Tridentine reform. Weddle's translation successfully catches the immediacy of the author's voice as well as its stately cadences."

Sharon Strocchia, Emory University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
The Other Voice 1
Historical Contexts 3
The Role of Convents in Women’s Experiences in Renaissance Florence 3
Political Alliances and Patronage Ties 12
Religious Reform 16
The Author: Sister Giustina Niccolini 20
The Chronicle 22
Characteristic Features 22
Chronological Framework 24
Renaissance Art in the Chronicle 30
Afterlife of the Chronicle 33
Note on the Text and Translation 38
List of Abbreviations 39
The Chronicle of Santissima Annunziata delle Murate 41
[Introductory Letter] 42
[Preface] 44
[Early Years on the Rubaconte Bridge, 1390–1424] 48
[Early Years on Via Ghibellina, 1424–1439] 56
[The Abbacy of Sister Scolastica Rondinelli, 1439–1475] 73
[A Period of Instability, 1475–1530] 123
[New Patterns of Patronage, 1530–1567] 186
[The Council of Trent’s Decrees and Beyond, 1567–1598] 213
Bibliography 337
Index 345

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