Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Petrarch – Renaissance poet

Death of writer who inspired the modern Italian language

The poet Petrarch was born Francesco  Petrarca on July 19, 1374
The poet Petrarch was born Francesco
Petrarca on July 19, 1374
Renaissance scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca died on this day in 1374 at Arquà near Padua.

Petrarca, known in English as Petrarch, is considered to be an important figure in the history of Italian literature.

He is often credited with initiating the 14th century Renaissance, after his rediscovery of Cicero’s letters, and also with being the founder of Humanism.

In the 16th century, the Italian poet, Pietro Bembo, created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch’s works.

Petrarch was born in Arezzo in Tuscany in 1304. His father was a friend of the poet Dante Alighieri, but he insisted Petrarch studied law.

The poet was far more interested in writing and reading Latin literature and considered the time he studied law as wasted years.

Petrarch’s first major work, Africa, about the Roman general, Scipio Africanus, turned him into a celebrity. In 1341 he became the first poet laureate since ancient times and his sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe.

The town of Arquà Petrarca, near Padua, where the poet Petrarch was born, and which took his name
The town of Arquà Petrarca, near Padua, where the poet
Petrarch was born, and which took his name
Petrarch travelled widely throughout Italy and Europe during his life and once climbed Mount Ventoux near Vaucluse in France just for pleasure, writing about the experience afterwards.

Towards the end of his life he moved with his daughter, Francesca, and her family, to live in the small town of Arquà in the Euganean Hills to the south west of Padua. He died there on 19 July 1374, the day before his 70th birthday.

Arquà, in the province of Padua, where Petrarch spent his last few years, is considered to be one of the most beautiful, small towns in Italy and it has won awards for tourism and hospitality. In 1870 the town became known as Arquà Petrarca and the house where the poet lived is now a museum dedicated to him.