The Handful of Dung–Secret of Florence

What's New — By katiegreenaway on June 23, 2011 at 7:58 am

This is the story about Antonio Rinaldeschi who was a young nobleman of Florence who was a freebird and loved to drink, play cards in the bars of Florence. On July 21, 1501 he was at the Osteria del Fico in present-day Vicolo del Giglio. He was three sheets to the wind when he had managed to lose all his money and some pieces of clothing, while playing a dice game. After leaving the osteria, he wandered towards the Duomo screaming, swearing out loud and damning his bad luck. When he arrived in Piazza del Capitolo, he was able to notice a tabernacle that contained the Annunciation despite being drunk as a skunk. In rage, he scooped up from horse dung from the road and threw it at the face of the Madonna. Passers-by were in shock. Thus those people reported when they saw to the authorities. Antonio was arrested and taken to the prison in the Bargello and was put on trial after what he had done. He pleaded with the judge to let him free and saying how he was wrong to do such a thing, but as a result he was sentenced to be hanged from the windows  of the Bargello. This was done to serve as a lesson to the rest of the residents of Florence.

The original tabernacle is kept inside a side chapel of the Church of Santa Maria de’ Ricci , in Via del Corso. There is a copy that stands its place in the piazza. It is possible to see the entire story of Antoni Rinaldeschi offended the Virgin Mary in cartoon form done by a local artist which is on display in the Church of Santa Maria de’ Ricci.

Cartoon of Antonio Rinaldeschi

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Tags: bargello, duomo, Florence, osteria, secret of Florence, secrets