Category Archives: Florence

Technical issues

All of the archival remains of Sant’Elisabetta delle Convertite are in Florence, mostly in the Archivio di Stato. The convent was closed in 1808, and all of its documents archived, meaning that there is a relatively rich resource for historians. I am, therefore, spending a few months in Firenze working on these records.

The rather underwhelming archive of Florence

The rather underwhelming archive of Florence

I arrived on 5 January but things have not gone altogether smoothly. My laptop was damaged on the flight- the screen completely smashed. i didn’t discover this until the evening of my arrival, and almost everything was closed the following day for La Befana. Once I found a shop to take it to, I had to get a quote for the insurance first, then ask them to start the repair. As a result it took over two weeks to get it fixed. It felt like a very long fortnight. The temporary loss of my laptop was difficult to deal with on a number of levels. I could use my table and a bluetooth keyboard in the archives, but that’s not much use for looking at the texts later and doing any sort of manipulation of them. I also found myself rather disorganised without a proper computer. It also meant that keeping in touch with friends and family back home was harder. Skype on my tablet isn’t the best. Hopefully, this will all be remedied now that it is back in working order.

A grim discovery

A grim discovery

My faithful Kindle also decided to give up the ghost a week or so after I arrived. Fortunately I brought a paperback copy of the Decameron with me and I have been reading that. Otherwise, I’d have had nothing to read at night other than a Danielle Steel novel I found in a cupboard of my apartment. I am glad it didn’t come to that. Although Amazon kindly agreed to replace my Kindle, I am waiting until someone can bring it over with them rather than relying on the notorious Italian postal service. This means I have another month or so to wait. Thankfully, I am not reading the Decameron too quickly and should be able to drag it out until then.

To cap it all, I poured tea over my portable hard drive, though that seems to have come through mercifully unscathed.

So, not the smoothest start, but I’m getting there.

On a more cheerful note, this is the Palazzo Vecchio.

On a more cheerful note, this is the Palazzo Vecchio.


Photo my own

Santa Maria dei Fiori (photo my own)

Hi! Welcome to my awkward first blog post. It seems somewhat appropriate to launch the blog on 19 May. My other blog is Harlots, Harpies and Harridans which grew out of a class I taught at the University of Edinburgh’s Open Studies and was inspired by infamous women from history. My initial infamous woman was Anne Boleyn who was executed on 19 May 1536. Although I don’t spend much (any) time on Anne Boleyn, or early modern England, now, I still feel I owe her a debt as my interest in her led me back onto an academic path, albeit one which has now taken a completely different direction.

At the moment I’m studying for an M.Litt in Early Modern History at the University of St Andrews and, all going well, will start on my PhD in September. My coursework is complete and I don’t have exams so the summer is dedicated to my dissertation on how Florence attempted to deal with the problem of unprotected girls between c.1400 and c.1600. My PhD will be on reformed prostitutes in Florence.

With both of these projects in mind, I’m visiting Florence next week to meet with Dr Nicholas Terpstra who has kindly offered to show me some of the Archivio di Stato. As I’ll only be there for a few days I am viewing the trip as a reconnaissance mission rather than expecting to make great historical breakthroughs. It’s also a good chance to practice my Italian, which is, frankly, wanting.

Anyway, thanks for coming by. This blog will be focused on my academic activities and (hopefully) adventures in the archives. Harlots, Harpies and Harridans will remain up and will be getting updated again soon so if wicked historical women are more your cup of tea, stop by there instead.