Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
Plague and Public
As the fortunes of merchants, bankers, and tradespeople improved, they had more than enough money to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. They began to desire larger, more luxurious homes, fine art for these residences, sumptuous clothing to show off their wealth in public, and exotic delicacies to eat. These desires of the middle class stimulated the economy.
The middle-class population also had leisure time to spend on education and entertainment. In fact, education was essential for many middle-class professions. Bankers and accountants needed to understand arithmetic. Those trading with other countries needed a knowledge of foreign currencies and languages. Reading was essential for anyone who needed to understand a contract. In their leisure time, middle-class men and women enjoyed such pastimes as reading for pleasure, learning to play musical instruments, and studying a variety of topics unrelated to their businesses.
The Resurgence of the City
Many Italian coastal cities became centers for trade and commerce, and for the wealth and education that ensued. One of the cities that exemplified these new trends was Florence. Unlike several other important cities of Italy that had noble families as their most prominent citizens (Mantua and Ferrara, for example), the leading citizens of Florence, the Medici family, made their wealth as business people. In all respects the Medicis had the appearance of nobility. They lived in beautiful homes, employed great artists, and engaged in intellectual pursuits for both business and pleasure.