The Black Death, or Black Plague, reached the shores of Sicily in October of 1347. By the spring of 1348 it reached the mainland of Italy where in quickly spread over the continent. Over a three-year period it killed between 30% and 50% of Europe’s population. Many people fled to the countryside in an attempt to escape the disease. The plague is believed to have been transmitted through fleas that lived on rats. Students will read the passage and respond to questions on the theme and the details.