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Terry Jones introduces a retelling of the first tale in the first day of Boccaccio's The Decameron. All is not what it seems when a wicked man makes his deathbed confession.

Terry Jones introduces the first of ten tasty Renaissance tales.

The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. This Renaissance work is considered a landmark in the history of literature.

The stories are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of fourteenth-century Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects - love, fate, sex, religion, morality - are universal.

Radio 3 is retelling ten of these choice Florentine Fancies, adapted from Boccaccio by Robin Brooks. Like the original, our stories are told over ten days, each of which has its own theme. You can hear them every evening at 2245, and in omnibus form on Sunday evenings in Drama on 3.

The music for the series is arranged and performed by Robert Hollingworth, Director of I Fagiolini, and the lutenist Paula Chateauneuf, with translations by Silvia Reseghetti. The script consultant is Guyda Armstrong.

Today's theme is: "Luckily, God listens to the sincerity of our prayers, and takes no account of their ignorance..."

All is not what it seems, when a fourteenth-century Tony Soprano makes his deathbed confession.

Giovanni Boccaccio was born to a Florentine banking family in 1313. After an unsuccessful start in law, he turned to his true love: poetry. A humanist and a pupil of Petrarch, Boccaccio's Latin poetry was famous across Europe, and provided the sources for his near-contemporary Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and The Knight's Tale. But his real innovation was the vibrant, vernacular prose in which he wrote The Decameron. Beautifully realised in the teeming voices of merchants and prostitutes, knights and nuns, shopkeepers and conmen, these one hundred stories have become a bedrock of our storytelling tradition, mined ever since by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lope de Vega, Christine de Pizan, Swift, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Caryl Churchill and many more.

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15 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Writer Giovanni Boccaccio
Adaptor Robin Brooks
Performer Robert Hollingworth
Performer Paula Chateauneuf
Ciappelletto Colin McFarlane
Musciatto Sam Dale
Holy Friar Michael Bertenshaw
Federico Monty d'Inverno
Anselmo Paul Heath
Doctor Ian Conningham
Producer Jonquil Panting
Director Jonquil Panting

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