The year is 1365 and the location is the ardently Catholic Florence in the town of Podesta, a young boy of just fifteen years old will suffer the most violent and painful death.
Giovannidi Giovanni is estimated to have been born in about 1350 in what is assumed Podesta his family is unknown in fact a lot is unknown about this young man except for his sexuality and his condemnation by the fanatical religious leaders of his time leading to his humiliating and inhumane death at their hands.
Florentine records describe how he was convicted by the Podestà court of being the passive partner of a number of different men. He was labeled “a public and notorious passive sodomite.” His punishment was to be paraded on the back of an ass, then to be publicly castrated. Finally, he was to have his anus burned with a red-hot iron (or, as the sentence read: “[punished] in that part of the body where he allowed himself to be known in sodomitical practice”) It is presumed he did not survive the ordeal.
His prosecution came on the heels of the Black Death, the bubonic plague epidemic which had ravaged the city two years earlier. Some of the most influential people of the religious establishment, such as Bernardino of Siena, blamed sodomites for having brought the wrath of God down on the heads of the populace. The “remedy” they promoted was to purify the city of evil by means of fire, leading to burnings at the stake and other punishments (red-hot iron) such as that suffered by Giovanni di Giovanni.
Giovanni is thought to be the youngest people to be executed in the campaign against sodomy waged in Florence since the Middle Ages.