Giovanni Boccaccio (/boʊˈkɑːtʃiˌoʊ, -tʃoʊ, bə-/; Italian: [dʒoˈvanni bokˈkattʃo]; 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. Boccaccio wrote a number of notable works, including The Decameron and On Famous Women. He wrote his imaginative literature mostly in the Italian vernacular, as well as other works in Latin, and is particularly noted for his realistic dialogue which differed from that of his contemporaries, medieval writers who usually followed formulaic models for character and plot.
The details of Boccaccio's birth are uncertain. He was born in Florence or in a village near Certaldo where his family was from. He was the son of Florentine merchant Boccaccino di Chellino and an unknown woman; he was likely born out of wedlock. Boccaccio's stepmother was called Margherita de' Mardoli.
Boccaccio grew up in Florence. His father worked for the Compagnia dei Bardi and, in the 1320s, married Margherita dei Mardoli, who was of a well-to-do family. Boccaccio may have been tutored by Giovanni Mazzuoli and received from him an early introduction to the works of Dante. In 1326, his father was appointed head of a bank and moved with his family to Naples. Boccaccio was an apprentice at the bank but disliked the banking profession. He persuaded his father to let him study law at the Studium (the present-day University of Naples), where he studied canon law for the next six years. He also pursued his interest in scientific and literary studies.