Marriages often involved the exchange of large sums of money and dramatic changes in social rank. A modest middle class dowry would be around 2500 to 3000 florin. Because so much was at stake, marriages were conducted like business deals. They were often arranged by a "sensale." A good wife was not wasteful, was faithful to her husband, did not raise her voice, was strict with her slaves or servants, did not wear make up, knew how to cook (though she mostly supervised in the kitchen) and let her husband make the major decisions of the family. Early on, regulations were made about how much money could be spent at a wedding, how many guest could be in attendance, how many courses could be served at the reception. It does not appear that most of these regulations were followed.
When a woman was pregnant, she went to confession and was advised not to sneeze (it would harm the child.) Most women nursed their own children. Most people did not believe in beating their children.
Most well to do families hired private tutors for their children. They taught grammar, Latin and geometry. Boys were also instructed in sports and other physical activities. Girls traditionally were just taught the domestic arts. There was some resistance to this among more progressive Tuscans.
Houses of the middle class and wealthy were hung with tapestries and had carpets. They owned sculptures and carvings and vases. Several people would sleep in one large bed. The rich usually owned garden inside of the city, as well as a villa outside.
Death and Funerals
Funerals were usually modest arrangements. The dead were dressed simply. and interned in the church sepulchers. Jewelry was removed. No armor or other expensive articles were buried. Only two candles were burned. A rich man might, however, leave money to a cleric in his will to "pay for his soul."
The Plague, the "Moria", hit Florence several times. There were particularly bad outbreaks in 1522 and 1527. The city shut down completely. Most of the rich fled to the country and to their villas. There were no elections and no law enforcement. There was bread distribution in cellars around the city. People who were suspected of being ill had to wear a white cloth and put a white cloth near their doorbells.
Brucker, Gene. The Society of Renaissance Florence. New York: Harper, 1971.
Lucas Dubreton. Daily Life in Florence. trans.A.Lytton Sells. New York: Macmillan, 1961.