It is hard to sum up the moral fabric of the city of Florence. There were some key features:
- In 1373, regulations were made regarding dress and jewelry. Married women could wear two rings and a silver bell. Otherwise there were fines imposed. These laws, though they might have been enforced at first, were definitely not followed in later years. At the same time, there were rules made regarding the number of guest that could be invited to a dinner, and how many courses could be served. Wedding banquets and funerals were similarly restricted. It is unclear for how long and to what extent any of these regulartion were followed.
- Violence in the city of Florence was common. This may have been due to the large urban population and the disparity between the rich and the poor. Although the city did have a reasonable law enforcement system, many people escaped penalties by fleeing the city.
- Gambling was a common practice, even though the church disapproved.
- In 1415, the city established communal brothels.
- Slavery was legalized in 1364. No Christian slaves were allowed.
- Many people had long term concubines (such a thing was barely frowned upon), and so there were many illegitimate children conceived. Galileo's family would be an example of this. Fortunately, many people treated their illegitimate children kindly, and made arrangements for them to receive their inheritance.
- In regards to Jews, heretics and sorcerers, Florence was generally tolerant. There were a number of incidents however in which Sorcerers were burned at the stake or Jews were required to wear identifying markers.
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.
Staley, Edgcumbe. The Guilds of Florence. Chicago: A.C.McClurg, 1906. p.288