1 barile grande da zucchero; 1 barile vecchio da zucchero (f. 329v); 1 barile da zucchero, 1 barile grande da zucchero (330v).
Sugar, or zucchero, appears only occasionally in the Florentine inventories, especially when compared with the references to flour, olive oil, beans, dried meats and other foodstuffs found frequently in these notarial documents. However, four entries for large quantities of sugar were included among the household items in the inventory of Miniato di Piero, who was also called Speziale (or, “Spicer”). Two barrels of sugar, one “large” (grande) and one “old” (vecchio) were found in a storeroom next to the kitchen alongside barrels containing flour, cords of wood, cooking utensils, and large serving trays. Two more barrels, one designated “large”, and the other undifferentiated, were also listed among the goods held in a storeroom in a second residence, along with tools and other durable goods. Sugar was still a relatively new commodity in Italy during the fourteenth century, but starting in the earlier part of the century was imported regularly through Venice and Genoa from eastern entrepots and especially from Cyprus. It was then shipped to consumers in Florence, and sold by spice merchants for use in cooking or by apothecaries for use in medical treatments. A contemporary Northern Italian depiction of a sugar merchant found in the Tacuinum Sanitatis illustrates how sugar was weighed, measured out into paper funnels, and then passed along to the customer. A second image from an early sixteenth-century version of De regimine principum shows an apothecary with a large cone of sugar located next to him on a tabletop, which allowed him to cut the appropriate amount from the cone and then give it to the customer. The depiction of vendors selling such small quantities of sugar suggests that owning four large barrels all at once was uncommon practice, and the Florentine whose goods were inventoried was in all probability a wholesaler of this precious commodity.