The starting-point for this study of messer Bernardo, father of the statesman and humanist Niccolò Machiavelli, is the diary he wrote over a period of thirteen years (1474-1487). Drawing upon many further sources, including Bernardo’s will, tax records and genealogies, the first in-depth investigation of the libro di ricordi reconstructs a panorama of everyday life during a fascinating period of the history of Florence. Topics explored include Machiavelli family history, household economy, wedding rites and Bernardo’s interest in books and printing. This study is invaluable for an understanding of Niccolò’s intellectual and family background. Four case-studies examine how messer Bernardo dealt with disputes and reveal the medieval roots of behaviour and mentality in Quattrocento Florence.