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FISHING AND WATER ECOLOGY IN HIGH RENAISSANCE FLORENCE: SOME PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
In 1509, Filippo Casavecchia wrote to Niccolò Machiavelli, inviting Niccolò to
“stay with me (in the mountains between Florence and Lucca) for 4 days, because I am sure you will not be sorry for it, with respect to my having ordered an entire furnaceful of mortar that contains 40 moggia (660 bushels), with which we shall plaster the river, for we shall take at last 2,000 libbre (1,596 lbs.) of fish and have a great time doing it.”
Using this almost completely ignored exchange in Machiavelli’s correspondence as a starting point,William Landon (Associate Professor of European History and Director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, Northern Kentucky University) examines Tuscan fishing techniques, the poisoning and damage that occurred to local streams as a result, and the Florentine’s government’s response to harmful ecological practices.
At the top, a map of the Arno River shown next to a human arm, comparing the river and its tributaries to the human circulatory system.