Margherita in the city

  • Facts
  • Born – 1357 in Florence youngest child of Domenico Bandini and his wife Monna Diannora Gherardini
  • Loses her father, 1360. He , as his posthumous son-in-law described it, "had his head cut off in Florence…being accused of wishing to hand over Florence to our Lord [the Pope]"
  • Joins her mother and brothers and sisters, Donato, Francesca, Costanza, Zanobi, Bartolomeo and Margherita, in exile in Avignon, all her father's estate having been seized.
  • 1376 – Carnival time in Avignon and 19 year old Margherita is marrying 42 year old Francesco.
  • 1382 – moves to Prato, on the Arno, near Florence, famous for its wool manufacturing, and… the sacred relic of the Virigin's Girdle.
  • Looks after Francesco – and all his family, servants and slaves, business associates and keeps up the network that will make him rich.
  • 1387 – her servant Ghirigora bears Francesco's son, also named Francesco. Ghirigora was hustled into marriage when three months pregnant. Francesco provided both the husband and a dowry.
  • 1388 – Francesco's son dies and is buried beside his grandfather in the Church of San Francesco in Prato.
  • 1390 – learns to write (she's been reading since her childhood). 1390 is also a plague year and the family has left Prato
  • 1392 – Francesco's daughter Ginevra born of slave, Lucia. But Lucia is not married off straight away and stays with the family for many more years. What can Margherita have been feeling? Ginevra was sent to the Ospedali degli Innocenti in Florence.
  • 1382-c.1395 The house in Prato became a larger house and then a Palazzo. Margherita, sometimes unwillingly oversaw painters, masons, bricklayers and many others. On the other hand Francesco Gonzaga, soon to be Duke of Mantua, came to stay in 1392, among many other grand visitors.
  • 1398 Adopts Francesco's daughter Ginevra, a turning point and recognition that the biological clock had run down.
  • 1410 Franceco dies, and Margherita with several good men from the community of Prato becomes a trustee of Francesco's charity "Il Ceppo" a fund for "i gettoni" or cast aside children. Although the charity's objectives would change over time it was still operating in 1954. Margherita and Ginevra have the right to use the garden of the Palazzo.
  • 1423 Margherita draws up her will and dies. She is buried at Santa Maria Novella, where her mother and many Gherardini are also buried. She has herself become a Dominican lay sister.