[.]
September 13th
7:35 PM
Via Ghibellina(top right)

It was on this street in the Artists’ Quarter of Florence that Verrocchio had his workshop, and where Leonardo spent the first 16 years of his working life. Usually, apprenticeships lasted around 12 years, but it becomes clear from various sources that Leonardo finished within 6 years, and by the time he was 20 he was a partner in Verrocchio’s workshop and stayed with him for another 4 years until some time in 1476.
It is known that Leonardo opened his own workshop that year, most probably also on Via Ghibellina, but it wasn’t going well for him: He received no commissions, and his only apprentice, a 15-year-old by the name of Paolo, was arrested and sentenced to 6 months in prison and exile for his 'wicked ways' - most likely homosexuality. He was never allowed to return to finish his apprenticeship, as Lorenzo de’Medici, who had been instrumental in the sentencing, thought it was best to keep Paolo away from the 'bad influences and company' he was keeping.

Carcere delle Stinche
Corner Via Ghibellina and Via Isola delle Stinche(main image, top left & bottom left)

In April 1476 Leonardo, together with three other men, was anonymously accused of sodomy and arrested…

Between 1304 and 1833, a prison stood there behind blank walls, with only one small door through which prisoners had to stoop to enter or exit. A stone plaque hung above that read 'Oportet Misereri', expressing the philanthropic maxim that it 'ought to be merciful' to the unfortunate, though guilty to be there.
Survival on the inside was a challenge and prisoners relied on being given food and blankets by visitors, as all they had in the cells was straw that was more reminiscent of a dung heap than anything else, and food consisted of dirty water and a little bread. The walls were about 44 feet high, with three guard towers looming above them, and too close to the prison buildings inside to allow much sunlight or air circulation. The cells were dark, humid and fetid.

While some sources like to claim Leonardo was imprisoned here for the whole two months from his arrest until his trial, the still existing documents disagree: Behind the names of all four of the accused are the words “Free to move around”. This means that he spent perhaps one or two nights in prison, most likely until his preliminary hearing, though this surely was more than enough for anyone to get a taste of the horrors that you had to endure inside.


Today, all that remains of the workshops that once lined Via Ghibellina are the facades with their wide doors and large shop front windows. Of the Stinche’s infamous walls nothing is left but the corner shrine, though the church that was once inside these walls, as well as a couple of other buildings, still stand.

Via Ghibellina
(top right)

It was on this street in the Artists’ Quarter of Florence that Verrocchio had his workshop, and where Leonardo spent the first 16 years of his working life. Usually, apprenticeships lasted around 12 years, but it becomes clear from various sources that Leonardo finished within 6 years, and by the time he was 20 he was a partner in Verrocchio’s workshop and stayed with him for another 4 years until some time in 1476.
It is known that Leonardo opened his own workshop that year, most probably also on Via Ghibellina, but it wasn’t going well for him: He received no commissions, and his only apprentice, a 15-year-old by the name of Paolo, was arrested and sentenced to 6 months in prison and exile for his 'wicked ways' - most likely homosexuality. He was never allowed to return to finish his apprenticeship, as Lorenzo de’Medici, who had been instrumental in the sentencing, thought it was best to keep Paolo away from the 'bad influences and company' he was keeping.


Carcere delle Stinche
Corner Via Ghibellina and Via Isola delle Stinche
(main image, top left & bottom left)

In April 1476 Leonardo, together with three other men, was anonymously accused of sodomy and arrested…

Between 1304 and 1833, a prison stood there behind blank walls, with only one small door through which prisoners had to stoop to enter or exit. A stone plaque hung above that read 'Oportet Misereri', expressing the philanthropic maxim that it 'ought to be merciful' to the unfortunate, though guilty to be there.
Survival on the inside was a challenge and prisoners relied on being given food and blankets by visitors, as all they had in the cells was straw that was more reminiscent of a dung heap than anything else, and food consisted of dirty water and a little bread. The walls were about 44 feet high, with three guard towers looming above them, and too close to the prison buildings inside to allow much sunlight or air circulation. The cells were dark, humid and fetid.

While some sources like to claim Leonardo was imprisoned here for the whole two months from his arrest until his trial, the still existing documents disagree: Behind the names of all four of the accused are the words “Free to move around”. This means that he spent perhaps one or two nights in prison, most likely until his preliminary hearing, though this surely was more than enough for anyone to get a taste of the horrors that you had to endure inside.


Today, all that remains of the workshops that once lined Via Ghibellina are the facades with their wide doors and large shop front windows. Of the Stinche’s infamous walls nothing is left but the corner shrine, though the church that was once inside these walls, as well as a couple of other buildings, still stand.

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    Me and David lived on a sidestreet of Via Ghibellina when we were in Florence. In addition to all this cool stuff it...
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