Certaldo, Italy - Casa del Boccaccio; Fitchburg, MA - Fitchburg Art Museum
Giovanni Boccaccio wrote Day 10, Story 10, also known as the story of Griselda, as the final tale in his Decameron. This story takes place in a town south of Turin, Italy, and revolves around the tale of an Italian Marquis of Saluzzo named Gualtieri, who is plagued with the responsibility to produce an heir to continue his bloodline as the leader of his people, a problem that he chooses to solve by marrying a peasant woman named Griselda.
Certaldo, Italy - Casa del Boccaccio; Giovanni Boccaccio [1313-1375]
Much like Gualtieri, Italian writer and poet, Giovanni Boccaccio managed to create his own legacy through his life and works which since then have become some of the greatest historical features of his hometown of Certaldo, Italy. Found on Via Boccaccio, within the heart of Certaldo, buildings such as Boccaccio’s very own home have been turned into museums to pay homage to one of Italy’s most prominent literary figures. Casa del Boccaccio was Boccaccio’s childhood home since the early 13th century. It was restored in 1823, although the original structure of the home was damaged on January 15, 1944, due to an airstrike during World War II. Since then, the house has been rebuilt and renovated to preserve the illustrious works of the poet, including furniture and various illustrated editions of the Decameron that survived the war. Other objects that can be found within the small museum include a collection of late 14th to early 15th-century women’s shoes, the fresco painting of Boccaccio by painter Benvenuti housed within “the poet’s room," and various geographical, historical, and cultural exhibitions dedicated to Boccaccio’s time. Lastly, housed within Boccaccio’s home is the tombstone plate of the poet, although the actual poet’s remains reside in another tomb located in the Chiese dei Santi Jacopo e Filippo, known as the Church of St. Jacopo and Filippo, also located in Certaldo.
Fitchburg, MA - Fitchburg Art Museum; Eleanor Norcross [1854-1923]
New England, though in many ways different from Certaldo, Italy, contains many museums that house a tremendous amount of history. One such museum is the Fitchburg Art Museum, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Like many other cultural heritage sites like Casa del Boccaccio, we can thank legacy for its existence. The Fitchburg Art Museum owes its creation to its founder, Ella Augusta, better known as Eleanor Norcross. Eleanor Norcross much like Boccaccio grew up in the town for which she is famous. From an early age her parents, who were also influential Fitchburg residents, supported her pursuits in the arts, painting, and art collecting. Her father, Amasa Norcross, survived both Eleanor’s mother and younger brother, resulting in a strong relationship with his only daughter. Due to his influence, Eleanor went on to study fine arts in Paris, France, through which she then became the avid painter we know today. This was not enough, however. Eleanor wanted to share her appreciation for the arts and the collections that inspired her with all her fellow Fitchburg residents. It was through this goal that the Fitchburg Art Museum was born, first as the Fitchburg Art Center (1929) and later on as the current museum. Much like Boccaccio, though Eleanor never lived to see the result of her dream realized, or the effects of her inspiration, her legacy lives on through those who have chosen to preserve her memory and work. As a result, through a translation of her vision, her collection has grown and will continue to do so, so long as cultural heritage continues to be of importance.
“Casa del Boccaccioente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio.” Giovanni Boccaccio National Organization, www.casaboccaccio.it/casa-boccaccio.html#stanza.
“Eleanor Norcross.” Fitchburg Art Museum, fitchburgartmuseum.org/eleanor-norcross.php.
“Evoking Eleanor: The Art, Life, and Legacy of FAM Founder Eleanor Norcross.” Fitchburg Art Museum, fitchburgartmuseum.org/evoking-eleanor.php.
Scharnagl, Donna. “Certaldo, A Tuscan Town That Gets Your Attention.” Discover Tuscany, discovertuscany.com/tuscany-destinations/certaldo-an-overview.html.
Robert D. Gosselin, Alum, Fitchburg State University
Accessible Description of Image(s)
Description by: Tyler Ansin, Student, Fitchburg State University