Florence was a major banking center during Chaucer's lifetime. Many Florentine
banks were international supercompanies with branches across the Continent.
Above are the front and back sides of the florin, a coin (forged by Florentine
goldsmiths) that often served as common currency all over Europe.
In 1344, Edward III
England a number of new coins, including his own gold florin and the gold noble
If you are so moved, you can also view a coin
used in Spain
in Chaucer's day.
This painting above (by Domenico di Michelino, 1465) depicts the poet Dante
gazing toward Florence (the walled city on the right). The painting is in
the Duomo (Cathedral) in Florence.