Written between 1348 and 1353, the Decameron is a prescription for psychological survival, a way of mentally distancing from today's death counts and grim economic forecasts.
There's a reason many today have never heard of Norman Douglas: After his death, more and more came forward with stories of his sexual relationships with boys, and he soon faded into obscurity.
For the UK government, the symbolism of leaving an institution associated with the EU seems to trump all other considerations.
In 1497 Girolamo Savonarola burned books and art in Florence in the most infamous act of European cultural desecration. A year later, he met the same fate.
Pearls of wisdom for a prince will serve a prime minister, too.
With such a colourful political past, the British prime minister will be hoping for a show of substance in choosing the Tuscan city.
One person's high density may be another's sprawl; the same tall building may be experienced as oppressive or exhilarating; a "good crowd" for one can be "overcrowded" for another.