Love with Francesco Petrarca Posted by Bridgette on Feb 10, 2022 in Culture, Holidays
Ciao a tutti!
San Valentino is right around the corner, so I thought I’d share a 700 year old love story.
Francesco Petrarca was an Italian renaissance poet and scholar. He is also credited with rediscovering the letters of Cicero, a Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar and philosopher. This rediscovery is said to have actually initiated the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture, and is why he is known as the “father of the Renaissance.”
But despite all of that, Petrarca, commonly anglicized as Petrarch, was simply a man in love.
His collection of Italian verses, known as the “Canzoniere” in English: “Petrarch’s Sonnets,” was inspired by his unrequited passion for Laura, a young woman he first saw in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon. Her true identity isn’t certain, but it is thought that she was Frenchwoman Laura de Noves, and she denied him because she was already married.
Apparently they had little or no contact, but this first sight of her in 1327 was enough for him to long for her until her death from the plague in 1348, when he then found his grief was just as difficult to bear. All in all, he wrote 366 sonnets dedicated to her.
Later in his life Petrarch wrote: “In my younger days I struggled constantly with an overwhelming but pure love affair—my only one, and I would have struggled with it longer had not premature death, bitter but salutary for me, extinguished the cooling flames. I certainly wish I could say that I have always been entirely free from desires of the flesh, but I would be lying if I did”.
Aura che quelle chiome bionde et crespe
tu stai nelli occhi ond’amorose vespe
ch’or me ’l par ritrovar, et or m’accorgo
Aër felice, col bel vivo raggio
Breeze, blowing that blonde curling hair,
you linger around bright eyes whose loving sting
now I seem to find her, now I realize
Happy air, remain here with your
Buon San Valentino e viva l’amore!
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