Born in Florence, Giovanni was the illegitimate son of a
rich merchant, Boccaccino di Chellino, who recognized him
The biographer Filippo Villani,
writes that the author of the famous Decameron was acute,
humorous and unpretentious.
Later he married
Margherita de Mardoli, a woman of the Italian
His father wanted him to become a
merchant or, better, a lawyer, to access the highest ranks
of society, but Giovanni had no interest for these
professions and was considering himself as a
In 1348-1351 Florence is striken by the
premices of the Black Death. Boccaccio loses then his
father, step-mother and numerous friends, at a time when he
writes his Decameron.