Chapter #1

The knives

Little Piero was working with his father and his brothers in the family workshop near the Palazzo dei Vicari. He had perfected the technique of tempering iron. He was barely nine years old and proud to learn the art of the knife masters. It was a tough job, but very well-paid and his dream was to forge the strongest Zuava Scarperia ever made so as to light a fire of envy in all the other knife makers in town.

Chapter #2

The palace of power

In the palace, the Vicar was sitting in his office studying the project for a military fort in San Piero. In Florence, Cosimo de' Medici was concerned about the safety of his hunting grounds in Mugello and wanted Lanci and Buontalenti to build the Fortezza di San Martino. Work would begin in June 30, 1569. That was in only two days. The tower clock chimed, the Vicar looked up to the window and thought, "We still have to find another 20 gold florins to pay for the clock mechanism. The Bottega di Ser Filippo Brunelleschi will send us a reminder letter soon... "

Chapter #3

Pilgrimage of faith

In the Pieve di San Pietro, the rector was gazing happily at the marble baptismal font that had just arrived from the Florentine workshop of the Della Robbia. The silence that reigned in the three naves was interrupted by the entry of some pilgrims who sought directions to the Convento del Bosco ai Frati. The rector traced the path to the monastery in the air, saying "It's easy if you imagine Donatello’s wooden Crucifix, which is guarded in the convent and will guide you. If you ascend from the foot of the Cross, the Bosco ai Frati, you'll find it on the left arm of the Cross".

Chapter #4

Medicean hunting lands

In the woods around the Castello del Trebbio, Eleonora and Giovanni spent their summer afternoons together under an old beech tree burned by lightning. Eleonora's father was very opposed to word of his daughter spending time with a "loafer". One day while waiting by the old beech, Eleonora was joined not by Giovanni, but rather her father. On the previous day, he was in the courtyard of the Medici residence delivering the loaves to servitude, when, from the top of the hill on which the castle stands, he saw the couple with his own eyes and was furious.

Chapter #5

Sant’Agata, the ancient feudal garrison

The young Lorenzo, son of a butcher, came from a family originally from Sant'Agata and had lived in a small house near the Romanesque church of the same name. Since the middle of the 14th century, when the new Passo del Giogo road was opened, the people of Sant'Agata had lost much of their foot traffic and the glories of the ancient Ubaldino garrison were silenced by the loss of the Castello di Montaccianico. Lorenzo’s ancestors decided to transfer their butcher to San Piero, where business was easier and their earnings safe. Despite being two centuries since their move to the valley, Lorenzo’s surname still carried the stench of treason.