Digital Sepoltuario

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Digital Sepoltuario is a proposed online research collection[1] cataloguing the tombs, chapels, altars, and other church memorials of medieval and Renaissance Florence. It will be published by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia.[2]


Beginning in the late thirteenth century, Florentine churches came to contain many stone plaques, slabs, and coffins, often serving multiple generations of the same family. The city saw explosive growth in private lay burials in the 14th and early 15th centuries. [3] [4] [5] These burials are documented in the archival tomb registers known as sepoltuari, which are housed at the State Archives of Florence (Archivio di Stato di Firenze) and other manuscript collections in the city. These archives are notable for their quantity and variety considering their period of origin: "Historians are drawn to Florence because of the unparalleled riches…of the archival and manuscript sources that permit in-depth inquiries into more and more varied questions than is possible anywhere else."[6] Digital Sepoltuario is intended to be the first internet-accessible, interactive catalogue of the tombs of Florence and will be part of the growing number of online resources [7] that allow users to study Florentine archival collections via the internet.[8] [9] Its entries transcribe tomb descriptions found in the manuscript tomb registers, including the best known sepoltuario written by Florentine antiquarian Stefano Rosselli between 1650 and 1657.[10] For example, entry number 23 in the section describing the tombs of the Badia of Florence, shown at right, records that "From the door of the choir towards the organ, there is a round, marble tomb cover with a coat of arms of gold and red vertical stripes, and an inscription: The tomb of Ser Piero di Antonio da Vinci, and his descendants. In the year of our Lord 1474." This tomb belonged to the Florentine notary and father of Leonardo da Vinci. His monument would see at least twenty-one burials underneath it between 21 February 1474 when Ser Piero laid his first wife Francesca di Ser Giuliano Lanfredini (1449-1474) to rest and 19 March 1614 when Giovanni di Piero di Guglielmo da Vinci, Ser Piero's great-grandson, was the last to be buried in the family sepulcher.[11] The funeral for Ser Piero himself was held in July 1504 after he died at age seventy-eight. The tomb no longer survives, for it was pulled up from the church floor during extensive renovations undertaken at the Badia in the later seventeenth century.

Digital Sepoltuario offers more information than any single manuscript sepoltuario can by enhancing each relatively simple tomb description with art historical facts about the form, materials, and decoration of each monument as well as information about the social, professional, and political lives of those buried underneath. Coverage spans the decades leading up to the Black Death of 1348 through the successive waves of epidemic that plagued the city into the 18th century, when Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo (ruled 1765-90) commissioned an extramural cemetery intended to house all Florentine burials.


  1. "Digital Sepoltuario". Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), University of Virginia. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  2. "IATH News: Anne Leader presents Digital Sepoltuario in Florence". The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. University of Virginia. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  3. Strocchia T., Sharon (1992). Death and Ritual in Renaissance Florence. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-4364-8.
  4. Bruzelius, Caroline (2014). Preaching, Building, and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-20384-4.
  5. Leader, Anne (2018). "The Sepulchralization of Renaissance Florence". Memorializing the Middle Classes in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Western Michigan University: Medieval Institute Publications: 75–105. doi:10.1515/9781580443463.
  6. Najemy, John (2008). A History of Florence 1200-1575. Malden, MA: Blackwell. p. 4.
  7. "Archivi digitalizzati". Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali e per il turismo. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  8. "DECIMA". University of Toronto. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  9. Leader, Anne (2018). "The Sepulchralization of Renaissance Florence". Memorializing the Middle Classes in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Western Michigan University: Medieval Institute Publications: 102n58. doi:10.1515/9781580443463.
  10. Di Stasi, Michelina (2014). Stefano di Francesco Rosselli: antiquario fiorentino del XVII sec. e il suo sepoltuario. Florence: Edizioni Polistampa. ISBN 978-88-596-1326-8.
  11. Leader, Anne (2017). "'In the tomb of Ser Piero': death and burial in the family of Leonardo da Vinci". Renaissance Studies. 31 (3): 324–345. doi:10.1111/rest.12215.

External links

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