Francesco Petrarca and his final home in Arquà

In 1370, Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) moved to Arquà, in the province of Padua, on the Euganean Hills. For his final years, the great poet born in Arezzo – known for one of the most important collections of vernacular lyrics in the history of Italian literature, “Il Canzoniere” (or “Song Book”) – was settling down in the 13th-century abode that Padua’s tyrant Francis the Elder had given him.

Petrarca had traveled a lot, and not only for pleasure. When his father was exiled for political reasons, he moved to France (Carpentars, Montpellier), Bologna, then again France (in Avignon, where he met his muse, Laura). He also lived in various cities in Italy and Europe out of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge: Liège, Ghent, Paris, Lyon, Cologne, Aachen, Rome, Naples, Milan, Florence, Ferrara…

But in the last four years of his restless life, Petrarca found a home in Arquà – with only a couple of short stays away. His presence marked the very architecture of the house – he had new windows opened and merged two originally separate structures – but also left more rarefied memories of him: the embalmed cat that is believed to have been his own, on the first floor; the Moorish chair and bookcase in his small office, where he studied and relaxed…

We can almost see him there, in the last days of his life, perhaps reading over Sonnet 365, the second-last poem in “Il Canzoniere”: You who see my shameful and impious sins, / King of Heaven, invisible, immortal, / help this frail and straying soul, / and mend its defects through your grace: / So that, if I have lived in war and tempest, / I may die in peaceful harbour: and if my stay / was vain, let my vanishing, at least, be virtuous.

Photos via:
http://www.collieuganei.it/ville/casa-del-petrarca/

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Francesco Petrarca and his final home in Arquà

Arquà Petrarca
Via Valleselle
+39 0429 718294

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