Master Francesco Petrarca

Francesco Petrarca, luminary of the Renaissance and father of Humanism, is deeply rooted in the city of Arezzo, where he was born in 1304. His Arezzo childhood laid the foundation for a life of extraordinary literary, philosophical and poetic achievements that profoundly influenced European culture.
Francesco Petrarca - Master Francesco Petrarca

Master Francesco Petrarca and the city of Arezzo

Francesco Petrarch was born in Borgo dell’Orto, in the heart of the city of Arezzo, on July 20, 1304 to the notary Ser Petracco and Eletta Canigiani (or Cangiani). His father Petracco, who lived for several years in Florence, was a friend of Dante Alighieri and because of his political background was – like the Poet of Comedy – exiled from the city of the Medici.

Arezzo was Petrarch’s home for the first years of his childhood, very important years in the formation of an individual’s personality. At this very time Arezzo was a very active and lively city, an important economic and artistic center, renowned for the production of fine textiles and for the presence of world-renowned artists and intellectuals-a crucible of creativity that would surely influence the poet in a positive way.

Master Francesco Petrarca: a poet always on the road

Francesco Petrarch is considered one of the fathers of literature and humanism in Italy: a writer, poet, philosopher and philologist, he would spend most of his life traveling, in a continuous broadening of horizons. Not surprisingly, Petrarch rejected the idea of the homeland as Mater and felt himself a citizen of the world.

During his life he was able to spend numerous periods in France, specifically in Montpellier where he undertook studies in jurisprudence, and then particularly in Avignon, where he stayed at various times. Petrarch then lived in Rome, Milan, Venice, and finally in the Padovan area. It was in Veneto, near Arquà, that a syncope took the Poet away in 1374.

The Works of Master Francesco Petrarca

Petrarch is best known for his poetic output, which includes love lyrics, poems in the vernacular and works in Latin. Among his most famous works are “Il Canzoniere” and “Trionfi,” which are considered two masterpieces of Renaissance poetry.

Most famous in Petrarch’s poetics is the figure of “Laura” : a woman – met by the Poet in the church of St. Clare in Avignon – to whom the young Francis would dedicate a very important slice of his production, in fact also devoting much space to her in his Canzoniere.

It is precisely the Canzoniere – whose original title is “Francisci Petrarchae laureati poetae Rerum vulgarium fragmenta” – that is perhaps Petrarch’s best-known work, and it took the poet about forty years of work to get to the point of being said to be complete, between revisions and rewrites.

The Trionfi are another very important work by Master Francesco Petrarca . In the Trionfi Petrarch, over the course of six chapters, treats and focuses in each different part on such themes as Love, Modesty, Death, Fame, Time and Eternity.

Master and Father of Italian Literature

Petrarch is prolific in his letters, addressing literary and political themes. He divides them into “familiares,” “seniles,” and “sine nomine,” the latter sketching issues of the time, such as papal corruption. In 1347, the work “Secretum” emerges as a dialogue between Petrarch and

St. Augustine. In it, the figure of Truth, personified as a woman, guides the poet in deep introspection. In the work, St. Augustine enlightens Petrarch on the value of life and the danger of earthly attachment. He highlights how love for Laura and the pursuit of glory are

chains for Petrarch’s soul.

In 1351, Petrarch begins the “Triumphs,” which we have already mentioned. It presents the triumph of six values: Love, Modesty, Death, Fame, Time and Eternity. At the center of Petrarchan thought is man, with his greatnesses and frailties. Petrarch promotes the idea of a synergy between culture

Latin and Christian civilization. This renewed vision of ancient culture makes him a forerunner of Humanism, profoundly influencing the 15th century.

Today in Arezzo

Petrarch himself wrote in a letter of reply to his friend Giovanni Aretino-curious about his origins-that not only was he born in Arezzo, but that he was born “in vico intimo,” that is, in the center of the urban agglomeration.

The historic Casa Petrarca is in fact located on Via dell’Orto number 28, just a few steps from Cathedral of San Donatoand almost on the top of the hill overlooking the modern city.

The House houses the museum dedicated to Francesco Petrarch and is home to the Petrarch Academy of Letters Arts and Sciences, inside a wonderful monumental palace.

With a visit to the House of Petrarch it will be possible to learn more about the Poet, surely one of the most important people ever born in the city of Arezzo.

How to reach Petrarch House

The historic building stands in the heart of the city center. Tourists who would like to visit the headquarters of the historic Petrarch Academy can easily reach Via dell’Orto by stopping at the Pietri parking lot and going up the handy escalator that leads in front of the Cathedral.

Those arriving by train, on the other hand, will just have to go up toward the Cathedral via the central Corso Italia street, to find themselves in Via dell’Orto at the end of the climb.

Petrarch Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The historic building is now home to the Petrarch Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and houses the Casa Petrarca Museum. The building is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Inside, the museum houses large Renaissance canvases by Tuscan painters and Petrarchan relics and materials. Also notable is a collection of 250 ancient coins and a library full of works and volumes related to Petrarchism.

The proximity between the B&B Antiche Mura and the House of Petrarch

The B&B Antiche Mura represents an ideal choice for those who wish to immerse themselves in Arezzo’s history and deepen their knowledge of the Father of Humanism, Master Francesco Petrarca. In fact, you will find us within walking distance of the Home of Master Francesco Petrarca ,as well as all the culture that our beautiful city has to offer. We are waiting for you!

Useful Links

Site of the Petrarch Academy

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