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A casa di Sesto Cajo Baccelli, lo "Strolago"

Who wrote Tuscany’s best-loved almanac?

Sesto Cajo Baccelli of Brozzi, the life of a quasi-astrologer

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Sesto Cajo Baccelli came from the ancient hamlet of Brozzi, an area located to the north of Florence. He was known as a ‘Strolago’, a term that’s a deformation of the word ‘Astrologo’ or astrologer. The nephew of Rutilio Benincasa (an astronomer and cabalist from Vaglia), Sesto Cajo Baccelli exercised his profession as a diviner, philosopher, mathematician and expert of agricultural practices. He even inspired a local proverb used to describe people who are able to guess things right on the nose. But his real claim to fame was his creation of the ‘Almanacco’, a unique Tuscan publication containing information about planting and harvesting, the moon’s phases, essential proverbs and local sayings.

Carlo Lapucci, one of the greatest experts in popular Tuscan traditions, looks for reasons as to why this book has been so successful—in 2010, its 133rd edition was published! Lapucci describes the book as ‘… a calendar, some proverbs, some practical advice, an overview of seasonal events, a few useful snippets about fairs and markets as well a little two-bit almanac advice. This little book was popular the whole year through, based on the belief that it was an important part of common knowledge.’