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Florence Legends & Curiosities: Canto dei Bischeri

Foto by M. Sani

When there was talk about creating a more robust Cathedral in Florence, most of the families around Santa Reparata Church were asked to leave their homes so they could build the now present Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo.

The town council told these families that they can build where they want and restart their businesses where they want. One family opted out of it. The Bischeri family.

All the families around Santa Reparata Church were offered money to rebuild elsewhere but the Bischeri family kept saying… 'the price is too low'.

As the new Duomo was being built, their home was becoming more of a problem. The city needed the space to build. And the stubborn Bischeri didn’t budge.

One night the city was lit up by flames and black smoke. The townspeople ran out of the homes to see what was going on. Can you guess what happened?

The Bischeri family home and workshops caught fire simultaneously and were burnt to the ground. In the space of a few minutes the family lost everything.

This represented the financial and moral decline of the family that took things too far and now they were paying for their own arrogance.

The term “bischero” is used by Florentines to refer to a stupid person, thanks to the Bischeri family.

After they lost everything the family escape to Emilia Romagna and settled in Parma, Bologna, and Ravenna.

Two centuries later, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, several members of the family made their fortunes back and returned to their hometown of Florence.

Not before changing their name to Guadagni (meaning earnings). They ended up purchasing the palazzo located right where their family lost it all.

On the corner of Palazzo Guadagni, between Piazza del Duomo and Via dell'Oriuolo it is still called Canto dei Bischeri. (see foto above)

No one will ever forget the story of the stubborn, arrogant family of Bischeri.


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