Photo by Samuele Bertoli
Michele Savonarola: His Fifteenth-Century Guide to Pregnancy and Pediatrics for the Midwives and Mothers of Ferrara, Italy
Michele Savonarola was a court physician who served the house of Este in the fifteenth-century city-state of Ferrara, Italy, and was a prolific writer of Latin and Italian texts. About 1460, he composed his vernacular Italian manual bearing the Latin title, De regimine praegnantium et noviter natorum usque ad septennium, or Guide for Pregnant Women and Newborns up to the Seventh Year, which has recently been translated into English (Zuccolin and Marafioti). The Guide allows today’s English readers to learn more about midwifery, maternity, medical practice, and the realities of the childbearing year, including the care of the newborn, in early modern Italy.