Savonarola as a Reformer in Francesco Guicciardini’s “History of Italy”
Table of contents
Savonarola as a Reformer in Francesco Guicciardini’s “History of Italy”
Publication type
Mark Yusim 
Occupation: Senior Research Fellow
Affiliation: Institute of Russian History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Has Girolamo Savonarola really been a forerunner of Protestant Reform? What kind of relationship exist between Renaissance and Reformation? In this paper such questions are considered through the prism of the “History of Italy”, the greatest historical work of this epoch written by a humanistic author, prominent politician Francesco Guicciardini. As in his early “Florentine history”, Guicciardini is quite cautious in his judgments; he approves the actions of the Dominican which did good for their native city; but in all that belongs to the divine intervention and Savonarola’s prophetic gift, he refrains from definitive opinions. In the “History of Italy” Guicciardini is gauging Savonarola more rigorously as an “prophet disarmed” (words of Machiavelli which his friend should have known, just as the vivid example of the more successful reformer Luther). Like Machiavelli, Guicciardini judges the reformer primarily as a political actor, because for both thinkers the main social tool is the State unlike the Church. Besides, in large measure significant for them was the incipient feeling of nationalism; one of the crucial points of the critics against Papacy was the harm caused by it to Italy. However Italians (one can mention also a Venetian, cardinal Gasparo Contarini) were not ready to renounce the superiority of their country in the Catholic world and they did not want the schism. Somewhat paraphrasing a statement of Guicciardini that he would love Luther like himself, if he wouldn’t have been in pope’s employ, we can say that he and Machiavelli could appreciate a reformer, if he were an Italian and a Florentine, and appreciate Savonarola better, if he were more successful. But the historic glory moment of Italy was the Renaissance and not the Reformation.
Renaissance, Reformation, State, Church, politics, Guicciardini, Machiavelli, “History of Italy”
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 200 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article and additional services
Whole issue and additional services
All issues and additional services for 2018


1. Villari P. Dzhirolamo Savonarola i ego vremya / per. s ital. D. N. Berezhkova, pod red. A. L. Volynskogo. Tom 1. M., 1995 (reprint).

2. Gvichchardini F. Istoriya Florentsii // Sochineniya velikikh ital'yantsev XVI veka / sost. L. M. Bragina; rus. per. N. Podzemskoj. SPb., 2002. S. 72—140.

3. Gvichchardini F. Sochineniya / vstupit. st. i red. A. K. Dzhivelegova; per. i primech. M. S. Fel'dshtejna. M., 1934.

4. Barbuto G. M. La politica dopo la tempesta. Ordine e crisi nel pensiero di Francesco Guicciardini. Napoli, 2002.

5. Cadoni G. Savonarola, Machiavelli, Guicciardini in una recente ipotesi interpretativa // La Cultura. Rivista di Filosofia, Letteratura e Storia. Vol. 37. 1999. P. 493—496.

6. Celli C. Francesco Guicciardini: From the Estratti Savonaroliani to the “Particulare” // Essays in Honour of Marga Cottino-Jones. Fiesole, 2003. P. 39—50.

7. Fournel J.-L., Zancarini J.-C. La politique de l’experience: Savonarole, Guicciardini et le republicanisme florentin. Alessandria, 2002.

8. Gasparis Contareni cardinalis Opera. Parisiis: Apud Sebastianum Nivellium, 1571. R. 580.

9. Gilbert F. Contarini on Savonarola: An Unknown Document of 1516 // Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte. Bd. 59. 1968. S. 145—150.

10. Governare a Firenze: Savonarola, Machiavelli, Guicciardini: Atti della giornata di studi 20 novembre 2006 / A cura di J.-L.Fournel. Parigi, 2007.

11. Guicciardini F. La Storia d’Italia di Francesco Guicciardini sugli originali manoscritti / A cura di A. Gherardi. Firenze, 1919—1920. 4 vol.

12. Guicciardini F. Storie Fiorentine dal 1378 al 1509 // Idem. Storie fiorentine. Ricordi. Novara, 1974.

13. Gusberti E. Il Savonarola del Guicciardini // Nuova rivista storica. Vol. LIV. 1970. P. 581—622.

14. Machiavelli N. Tutte le opere. Firenze, 1971 [Ehlektronnyj resurs]. URL: (data obrascheniya: 01.11.2018)

15. Palumbo M. In margine alla questione savonaroliana // Laboratoire italien: Politique et societe. N 3: La republique en exil (XVe — XVIe siecles). 2002. P. 153—165.

16. Ponsiglione G. Scritture della crisi e crisi della scrittura. Echi savonaroliani in Francesco Guicciardini // Bollettino di italianistica. N 2. 2006. P. 67—93.

17. Ridolfi R. Vita di Francesco Guicciardini. Milano, 1982.

18. Sanuto M. Diarii dall’ autografo Marciano ital. cl. VII codd. CDXIX—CDLXXVII / publ. per cura di R. Fulin, F. Stefani, N. Barozzi, G. Berchet, M. Allegri. Venezia, 1891. Vol. 30.


No posts found

Write a review