French Works Copied in Italy

Along with the production of original works written in French and Franco-Italian, works in the French vernacular were imported, copied, and circulated throughout Italy from as early as the thirteenth and continued well into the fifteenth century. Although works of romance epic were the most popular, the repertoire of French works copied in Italy included a wide variety of genres and subject matters in both prose and verse, and these individual works can be accessed by clicking on the links to the left.

French works were copied and circulated in the north in the noble courts in Lombardy, but also among notaries, bankers, and merchants working throughout Italy and in France. Manuscript sources are valuable as witnesses for individual texts as well as how these texts were brought together and compiled for their readers. Analyzing the collection of texts in one manuscript can offer further information about the role that French language texts played for speakers of Italian.

Works in Occitan also enjoyed a great popularity on Italian soil, both in the north and under the auspices of the Angevin courts of the south. However, the propagation of Occitan texts in Italy did not endure much beyond the thirteenth century, and the corpus of original Occitan works written in Italy or by Italians is more restricted than that of the lingua d’Oil or the artificial literary form now called Franco-Italian. Although inclusion of Occitan sources may seem problematic to scholars of the lingua d’Oil, others believe that excluding these works from the conversation excludes an important component of the story of vernacular writing in Italy. We have therefore included them as a point of reference.



Bertoni, Guilio. “Lettori di romanzi francesi nel quattrocento alla corte estense.” Romania 113 (1918-1919): 289-319.

Peron, Gianfelice. “Cultura provenzale e francese a Treviso nel Medioevo.” In Storia di Treviso 2, Il Medioevo, edited by G.M. Varanni, 518-544. Venice: Marsilio, 1991.

Rienzi, Lorenzo. “Il francese come lingua letteraria e il Franco-Lombardo. L’epica Carolingia nel Veneto.” In Storia della Cultura Veneta vol. 1, Dalle Origini al Trecento. Edited by Gianfranco Folena, 563-587. Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1976.