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Travel Talk

Local hosts share their insights

Magdalen Chapel of Bargello: East wall

This fresco was discovered in 1840, prompting the chapel’s restoration. It restored what centuries of political tumult had almost completely obliterated.



The figure in the front, dressed in dark red robes and standing next to the kneeling person, is usually the focus of attention. According to Vasari, it is Dante Alighieri, but this identification is now considered doubtful. I invite you, however, to look beyond this figure. Next to Dante stands first a young man dressed in blue. Then, next to him, we meet our guide, Brunetto Latini, wearing a red cap with an ermine band




Who was this ser, Brunetto Latini? He was a notary, more precisely a notary-scribe attached to the Anziani. These Elders were the highest executive institution under the Primo Popolo. Although this scribal role was certainly not without importance, recent research into Latini’s life has stressed that this function should not be equated to a “chancellorship”.


Learn more about Magdalen Chapel and Medieval Florence with David Napolitano and his FREE tour on the GlobeTrott Travel app.


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