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What To Expect From Netflix’s The Decameron

Three people emerge from behind some bushes in Netflix's The Decameron

The Decameron is about to premiere on Netflix, and it looks like a promising and exciting show, but what can we expect from it?


Based on Giovanni Boccaccio’s book of the same name, which is often regarded as one of the most famous and well-known works of Italian literature, The Decameron is now being adapted into a television show which will premiere globally on Netflix on July 25, 2024. The 14th century book is a collection of tales told by a group of seven women and three men who take shelter outside the walls of Florence to escape the Black Death. Created by Kathleen Jordan, the series promises to be loosely inspired by the original book, but we can also expect it to touch on topics that ring familiar to today’s audiences as well. After all, escaping the city to avoid a pandemic is not exactly news to the audience of the 20th century. Here’s what to expect from Netflix’s The Decameron!


The Plot & Characters in The Decameron

Tony Hale as Sirisco, Karan Gill as Panfilo, Lou Gala as Neifile, Douggie McMeekin as Tindaro, Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia, Zosia Mamet as Pampinea, Tanya Reynolds as Licisca, and Amar Chadha-Patel as Dioneo in Episode 103  of Netflix's The Decameron, featured in a Loud and Clear article about what to expect from the series
What To Expect From The Decameron – (L to R) Tony Hale as Sirisco, Karan Gill as Panfilo, Lou Gala as Neifile, Douggie McMeekin as Tindaro, Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia, Zosia Mamet as Pampinea, Tanya Reynolds as Licisca, and Amar Chadha-Patel as Dioneo in Episode 103 of the series (Giulia Parmigiani, Netflix © 2024)

The Decameron is set in 1348, when the Black Death takes over the city of Florence. In order to escape the plague-ridden city and their likely untimely death, a group of nobles and their servants retreat to a villa in the Italian countryside for what some of them hope to be a lavish holiday. The group includes the servants of the villa, Stratilia (Leila Farzard, of Black Mirror) and Sirisco (Tony Hale, of Inside Out 2), and physician Dioneo (Amar Chadha-Patel, of The Creator). The latter looks after the sickly and anxious Tindaro (Douggie McMeekin, of The Crown), who has just become the heir to a rather large fortune.

They are joined by a couple of newly-weds, Neifile (Lou Gala) and Panfilo (Karan Gill, of I May Destroy You), the frivolous and hopeful Pampinea (Zosia Mamet, of The Flight Attendant) and her codependent servant Misia (Saoirse-Monica Jackson, of Derry Girls), as well as the spoiled lady Filomena (Jessica Plummer) and her obedient servant Licisca (Tanya Reynolds, of Sex Education).


Themes in The Decameron: Masters & Servants

Zosia Mamet as Pampinea and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia in Episode 102  of Netflix's The Decameron, featured in a Loud and Clear article about what to expect from the series
What To Expect From The Decameron – Zosia Mamet as Pampinea and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia in Episode 102 of the series (Giulia Parmigiani, Netflix © 2024)

As evident from the cast and the characters they play, the class status and the economic situation of each character is going to play a key role in the events of the show. Therefore, we can expect The Decameron to analyse the complex relationship between masters and servants that was key to the political and social context of 14th-century Italy. After all, that was one of the most important elements of the original book by Bocaccio, who used satire to reflect on the situation of the time.


The Setting of The Decameron: Firenze and the Black Death

Amar Chadha-Patel as Dioneo in Episode 102  of Netflix's The Decameron, featured in a Loud and Clear article about what to expect from the series
What To Expect From The Decameron – Amar Chadha-Patel as Dioneo in Episode 102 of the series (Netflix © 2024)

The Decameron will be set in the 14th century, when our protagonists escape the city of Florence, plagued by the threat of the Black Death, to find refuge in the countryside. Therefore, we can expect to see the beautiful scenery of both Florence and, most likely, the countryside where the characters will reside. A lot of the show was filmed in the Cinecittà Studios in Rome, but the production also took advantage of the beautiful country where the story is set and shot on location in Rome, Florence, and more broadly in the Tuscany countryside. Interestingly, the show will also give audiences an insider look at what life was like in the 14th century during the Black Death for different social classes.


Music & Satire in The Decameron

The Decameron Teaser Trailer (Netflix)

Judging from the recently released teaser trailer, it looks like The Decameron is going to use modern music combined with 14th century costumes and production design. And if the teaser trailer is anything to go by, then it promises to be a successful and innovative choice. The satirical element is one of the most distinctive features of the original book as it often uses practical jokes, double meanings, and wit to deliver life lessons and reflections on the moral and philosophical principles of the time. We can, therefore, expect the show to thread in a similar direction and use a similar level of humour, exaggeration, and passion.


The Stories of The Decameron

(L to R) Karan Gill as Panfilo, Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia, Douggie McMeekin as Tindaro and Tony Hale as Sirisco in Episode 108 of Netflix's The Decameron, featured in a Loud and Clear article about what to expect from the series
What To Expect From The Decameron – (L to R) Karan Gill as Panfilo, Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Misia, Douggie McMeekin as Tindaro and Tony Hale as Sirisco in Episode 108 of the series (Giulia Parmigiani, Netflix © 2024)

A key feature of Boccaccio’s book is the stories it tells. Contained by an overall frame narrative, the book includes 100 tales told by the group of people who escaped from Florence. The storytelling element is central to the book, as it is the only way the protagonists have to entertain themselves and escape the sad reality of the Black Death. This is particularly exciting, as the narrative device will allow The Decameron to show a multitude of different narratives, although maybe not every single one that is included in the original book. We can expect multiple themes that range from the erotic to the tragic, including everyday life and reflections of Catholic morals.

The Decameron is set to be an exciting show that already seems similar to the tone and themes recently explored in films like Saltburn. It seems clear, then, that the audience has an appetite for this type of content and Netflix’s newest show won’t hesitate to touch on these themes once again. While we may not know a lot about the series yet, with only a brief plot and a teaser trailer out at the time of writing, it is already an exciting one. I for one can’t wait to join the part of the century that Netflix cordially invites us to on July 25.


Watch on Apple TV

The Decameron will be released globally on Netflix on July 25, 2024. Watch the trailer below and read our thoughts on who will be the protagonist of Bridgerton Season 4!

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