After a pause of more than one hundred years and nearly three centuries after the terrible epidemic of Black Plague of 1348, Florence and Tuscany were once again affected by a devastating plague in 1630. Having ravished Milan and the Po Valley, the Bubonic plague came to the land of Dante in early October and it continued to be prevalent for about a year. It is said that the plague had arrived from Bologna, brought by a Chicken seller who had come to stay with relatives in Trespiano; in reality, the disease had already started to spread months before. In May, Florence’s judiciary council imposed health regulation policies on Florentine guards who worked in areas bordering the north.
Travellers had to show special documents, similar to passports, that confirmed the bearer’s good health. No one without a pass could enter the states of the Grand Duke. Between the end of May and early June, the plague broke out in Bologna. Measures were gradually made more strict and the personal staff of the Grand Duke was sent to guard the northern frontiers. The plague, however, had already crossed its borders. Its first victims were the members of the family in Trespiano, who were said to have hosted the chicken seller. Their house was sealed and their furniture burned, but the plague had already began to claim its victims, spreading toward the heart of the city. In October, the plague was officially declared ‘contagious’ by the judiciary health board. Its symptoms included sudden fever, bubonic swelling on the arms and legs and swelling of the lymph nodes.