Bakers, Butchers, and Barbers

Basic Services in the Early Modern City

Early modern cities like Florence were, in many ways, very like our modern cities today. In one particular way, they developed to provide easy and rapid access for basic services to residents. This map shows the distribution of three of those services – bread, meat and a haircut (or quick surgery) – in the working-class parish of Santa Maria Novella.

As you can see, these basic services were regularly distributed throughout the suburban neighbourhoods. In fact, no bread ovens throughout the entire city were located more than 300 metres apart – in other words, no Florentine had to walk further than 150 metres to buy their daily loaf.

The research for this map is drawn from the chapter “Thinking and Using Decima” in Mapping Space Sense and Movement.

Mapping Space
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Archivio di Stato di Firenze

Archivio di Stato di Livorno

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