When wool merchant Giovanni di Feo died in late 1390, he left all his worldly assets to his son and heir, Feo. These included items from his multi-room home in Florence, from a smaller house with a garden located in the village of Santa Margherita a Montici, and from his cloth shop, located in the neighborhood of San Martino.

The shop’s inventory contained a long list of textiles of different colors and values, as well as tools of the cloth trade. Among them, we find many fabrics of paonazzo (violet), cilestrina (pale blue), azzurrino (blue-hued), scarlattino (red), and turchino (deep blue). The value of some of these listed are easy to reckon, since the price per unit was clearly recorded (ie light blue cloth, 71 soldi per piece), but for others, the markings appended to the entries are difficult to discern. Some entries in the inventory, for example (at ff. 340v-341r), feature symbols resembling double or single stars, crowns, trefoils, or other unknown glyphs, and the meaning of these markings remains unclear to readers today.

Aside from the lengths or panels (panne) of cloth enumerated in the inventory, remnants of expensive fabrics are also listed with their accompanying values (1 remnant of pale blue cloth worth 81 soldi, 1 scampolo cilestrino solidi 81). As is visible above in the document image featuring a small selection from the inventory, Giovanni’s shop also held tools for measuring (a measuring stick, 1 canna da misurare), cutting (a pair of shears, 1 paio di forsici), and displaying fabrics (a cabinet with 2 shelves for display, 1 cassa a ii serrami per mostra), as well as items used in cloth processing and production, such as fulling bags (one fulling bag, 1 saccho da gualchiere) and materials ready for weaving (a tessere). Many of these same instruments are visible in contemporary depictions of cloth stores, such as the one found in a Northern Italian copy of the Tacuinum Sanitatis, also seen above.