The ornery prologue of Florentine merchant Galeotto Cei’s travel account accurately sets the tone for the striking sixteenth-century narrative of a lengthy stay in the Americas. Cei, member of an exiled Florentine family, left for the Americas in 1539, engaged in trading activities and participated in Spanish expeditions into South American territories before returning to Europe fourteen years later. Certainly Florentine merchant Cei’s Relazione delle Indie fits in well with a corpus of merchant writing. The context of the Decameron offers compelling points of comparison in examining Cei’s text, in particular the role of the practical joke. As Giuseppe Mazzotta writes, in any discussion on laughter, the obvious point of reference is tragedy, and it, by comparison, seems all too accountable. If the noble youths’ stories in the Decameron served as an antidote to the apocalyptic conditions of Florence during the 1348 plague, Cei’s bitter comedy can be seen in relation to the horrific conditions he describes in the Americas.