Maria d'Aquino, Boccaccio's Fiammetta who killed the king of Naples

by Francesco Li Volti

Around the figure of Fiammetta, the woman who made one of the fathers of the Italian language, Giovanni Boccaccio lose his head, myths and legends revolve. But here we will not simply speak of the "Fiammetta" imagined by Boccaccio, but of the person who hid behind this name: Maria d'Aquino.

Maria d'Aquino, la Fiammetta di Boccaccio che uccise il re di Napoli
Giovanni Boccaccio

Boccaccio and Fiammetta

We will not dwell on writing about the great Boccaccio, what we are interested in saying is that the poet moved to Naples when he was 14, in 1327. It came from Florence, because his father Boccaccino di Chellino he was a very important merchant and the court of the Angevins entrusted him to represent the Banco de 'Bardi.

Here the young Boccaccio came into contact with the Neapolitan cultural elite: scientists, theologians, jurists and poets. These friendships sent his father into a rage, who wanted to initiate him into the life of the merchant. So Giovanni approached literature and the world of romanticism in Naples, the city that gave him the right inspiration to fall in love. Fall in love with life, the good life, the language, the city, but above all with a woman.

That woman was Maria d'Aquino, that the poet knew, or at least with whom there was, as we say today, a game of glances, during the Holy Saturday mass of 1331 (or 1336, the sources are conflicting) in the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore. From this first meeting others followed. And others. Until Boccaccio fell in love for good, but receiving a merry two of spades from his beloved. In fact, starting from the October following that first spring meeting, Fiammetta apparently began to reciprocate the writer's sentiment, thus filling him with joy. After three years, however, the bitter disappointment: Fiammetta turns out to be a fickle person and leaves Boccaccio for a new love.

Maria d'Aquino, aka Fiammetta

This beautiful, blond, sky-blue-eyed Maria d'Aquino as a young woman was no less there illegitimate daughter of King Robert of Anjou and his Provençal mistress Sabran hisses, wife of the count Thomas IV of Aquinas. It is said that the two lovers consummated their relationship on the day of the feast of the coronation of King Robert, in 1310.

Maria was part of the Neapolitan aristocracy, she was well known. But for this very reason it was surrounded by many enemies. The gossips immediately chose the path ofmess and many stories mounted on his figure.

Maria d'Aquino

The assassination of the king and the wrath of Joan I

It is said that Maria d'Aquino was complicit in the murder of King Andrea, Duke of Calabria in the Angevin castle of Aversa on 18 September 1345. He was the successor of Roberto D'Angiò, and husband of the Queen Joan I. Because of this Maria was sentenced to death and beheaded in 1382 by order of the queen's successor, King Charles III. It will never be discovered who was really behind this terrible murder, because the church pushed to finish the investigation in a short time and therefore the aristocrats with whom the queen did not have a good relationship were beheaded. This is why Maria d'Aquino (ops, Fiammetta), hated by Queen Giovanna, also got involved, perhaps for its beauty, perhaps for its unscrupulousness.

Certainly not because Boccaccio had been in love with him.

The story is dedicated to Arianna Desiderio for her generosity in supporting Storie di Napoli with a donation. Support our research too, your help is essential!

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