In the years between 1347 and 1351, it killed at least a third of the European population. Half of the population of Siena, Italy, died.
…The dead were buried in pits, in piles.
In Florence, wrote Giovanni Boccaccio, “No more respect was accorded to dead people than would nowadays be accorded to dead goats.” Some hid in their homes. Others refused to accept the threat. Their way of coping, Boccaccio wrote, was to “drink heavily, enjoy life to the full, go round singing and merrymaking, and gratify all of one’s cravings when the opportunity emerged, and shrug the whole thing off as one enormous joke.”