About midway through the book there is a conversation about the bread shortage where someone mentions that the authorities have taken the unusual step of importing grain from Turkey. Soon afterwards, the plague breaks out in Milan.
Even in Manzoni's time the role of rats and fleas in the transmission of plague was unknown. It was assumed that the plague was carried to Italy by German soldiers. But the plague is native to Asia where it still exists among wild rodent populations. I wonder if these grain shipments may not have carried infected rats straight into Milan.
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