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Italian Plague of 1629-1631

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The Italian Plague of 1629-1631 was a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague from 1629 through 1631 in northern Italy. This epidemic, often called the Great Plague of Milan, killed about 280,000 people. The cities of Lombardy experiencing particularly high death rates. This episode is considered one of the last outbreaks of the centuries long pandemic of bubonic plague which began with the Black Death.

German and French troops carried the plague to the city of Mantua in 1629, as a result of troop movements associated with the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Venetian troops, infected with the disease, retreated into northern and central Italy, spreading the infection.

In October 1629, the plague reached Milan, Lombardy's commercial center. The papal city of Bologna lost an estimated 15,000 citizens to the plague, with neighboring smaller cities of Modena and Parma also being heavily affected. This outbreak of plague also spread north into Tyrol, an alpine region of western Austria and northern Italy.

Later outbreaks of bubonic plague in Italy include the city of Florence in 1630-1633 and the areas surrounding Naples, Rome and Genoa in 1656-1657.


  • Cipolla, Carlo M. Fighting the Plague in Seventeenth Century Italy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981.
  • Prinzing, Freidrich. Epidemics Resulting from Wars. Oxford: Clarendon Press, peste del Nord Italia del 1630