Andrea da Barberino

Andrea da Barberino

Andrea da Barberino

Copertina del “Guerin Meschiono” di Andrea da Barberino – da

Born in Barberino val d’Elsa in 1370, born Andrea de Mengabotti, also spent part of his youth in Florence, probably in via della Pergola.

He was a well-known storyteller who often performed on the streets of the city of the lily, especially in Piazza San Martino, very dear to him. He began by interpreting some romances of French origin, which he translated himself. Over the years, he approached and eventually replaced narrative works of his own invention, in prose and verse, mostly of an epic genre.

Guerin Meschino and other works

His most successful and well-known work is undoubtedly the cycle of stories around the figure of Guerrino, a character born of his imagination, which he collected in two works: “Guerrino descends into Hell” and the most famous “Il Guerrin Meschino” (or Guerrino known as il Meschino). This work was a classic of European literature from the fifteenth century to come, read and commented on even in the most illustrious courts.

Over time the memory of the work has faded but has not disappeared, remaining one of the greatest classics of Italian literature and the name Guerin Meschino has been reprised as a tribute or parody even in the contemporary era.

Another well-known work in the cultural circles of the time was “The Royals of France”, also a fictional work, recounting the dynasty from the emperor Constantine to Charlemagne like an ancient document found. Thus a historical void was imaginatively filled which aroused much interest in the Middle Ages.

There is not much news about Andrea’s life, which is presumed to have taken place mostly in Florence, in whose countryside he was also the owner of family lands. The date of his death is also not certain, but presumable around 1432, as his will was known in the city from the following year. Having had no children, his possessions passed to his most direct grandson.

Disegno di Antoine de La Sale dal Paradis de la Reine Sybille 1420 via Wikimedia

The town of Barberino has recently activated a twinning relationship with the town of Montemonaco in the Marche, thanks to the description of the Grotta della Sibilla that Andrea makes in Guerrin Meschino. We tell the stories and the life of this particular character of Barberino origins within the narrated tour of the village known as Barberino Nascosta.

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