Villani, Giovanni (jōvänˈnē vēl-läˈnē) [key], c.1275–1348, Italian historian of Florence. As a Florentine government functionary, he participated in some of the events he narrates. His 12-volume history of Florence, written as a universal history from ancient times to 1348, is quite reliable for events during Villani's own time. An early monument of Italian prose, it helped fix the Tuscan language as the Italian standard. Villani died in the plague.