IN COLLABORATION WITH:
ANDREA DE’ MOZZI
As a landmark of Vicenza, the Bacchiglione River appears in Dante’s Inferno also in relation to Andrea de’ Mozzi. Originally from Florence, he is Bishop of Vicenza in 1295, during Dante’s time. It is Dante’s mentor, Brunetto Latini, who shows, with severe disgrace, the gloomy Andrea de’ Mozzi on the burning sand-waste where sodomites are sentenced – “If you want to look at a filthy and disgusting soul, there is the one who was transferred from the Arno (Florence) to the Bacchiglione (Vicenza) by the Pope and who died, leaving his uncontrollable lust”.
Andrea de’ Mozzi belongs to one of the wealthiest families in Florence, with long Guelph militancy: the Mozzi’s are Vatican’s bankers. Today, the fourteenth-century family palace is visible at Oltrarno, overlooking the square called Piazza de’ Mozzi.
Andrea studies Law in Bologna and then he is employed as chaplain in Rome, where he serves three Popes. Later on, he is named Bishop of his city, Florence, where he stands out for his greed and monetary schemes. He even takes over the treasure of the Confraternity of the Brothers of Penance. Allegedly, he also tries to bribe the newly elected Pope Bonifacio VIII, by offering a purebred horse. After declining the offer, the Pope sends him to Vicenza, as punishment.
Are the stories about sodomy true? Dante has probably heard some rumors in Florence, however there is no written evidence to support them.
There I saw some sunken to the eyebrows
…………………… they are tyrants who took to blood and plunder.
And that brow with such jet-black hair
Inferno XV, vv. 110- 114