Meet the mad monk of Florence, the man behind Italy's Bonfire of the Vanities

Feb 11, 2019 348

BY: Michael Stuchbery

It was a clean-up that Marie Kondo would have been proud of. Out into the streets came paintings, statues, jewellery, clothing, all heaped into piles. On February 7th, 1497, the inhabitants of Florence had decided many of their worldly possessions were not ‘sparking joy’, but rather leading them towards the hellfires of sin.

This event, known to history as the Bonfire of the Vanities, was carried out at the urging of the monk christened Girolamo Savonarola, one of the most famous figures in the city’s history. Savonarola, or Fra Girolamo, had made a long, strange journey since his birth in 1452. Born in Ferrara, to a reasonably wealthy, humanist family, it had looked like Savonarola was going to follow his father into medicine.

Read more


You may be interested