The basilica of Santa Maria Novella, with a Renaissance façade that was completed about 100 years after the Decameron was written.
Before beginning the story-telling sessions, the ten young Florentines, 7 women and 3 men, referred to as the Brigata, gather at the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella and together decide to escape Black Death by leaving the city to stay in a villa in the countryside for the next two weeks. Each agrees to tell one story each day for ten days. The stories are told in the garden of the first villa that the company stays at, which (although fictional) is located a few miles outside the city.
Under the rule of Pampinea, the first day of story-telling is open topic. Although there is no assigned theme of the tales this first day, six deal with one person censuring another and four are satires of the Catholic Church.
First tale (I, 1)
Ser Cepparello, more commonly known as Ciapelletto, a notoriously wicked man, travels on a business to Burgundy, a region he is unknown in, as a favor to Musciatto Franzesi. Once there, he soon falls terminally ill. The two Florentine brothers who were housing him during his stay bring a friar from a nearby convent to hear his confession and give him his last rites. Ciappelletto proceeds to tell the friar lies about his life that make him seem very pure, while pretending to cringe over venial sins. He is completely believed by the friar, who preaches a sermon on his life after he passes away. The townspeople who hear the sermon believe that he was a holy man and revere him as a saint long after Ciapelletto died.
Panfilo is the storyteller of the first tale of the entire collection, which is also the first tale ridiculing then-current practices of the Roman Catholic Church (in this case canonization by the people). The earliest source of this story is found in chapter eight of Saint Sulpicius Severus's biography of Saint Martin of Tours. The biography dates from around