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A close up of the Petrarca relief.Francesco Petrarch: (1304-1374) Italian poet, Historian, and Scholar.

Petrarch, or Petrarca, was born July 20, 1304 at Arezzo. He was absorbed with the classics and introduced them to his contemporaries. He is seen as a forerunner of the Renaissance. (

Between 1315 and 1319 the Francesco was trained at Carpentras under the tutelage of the Italian Convenevole da Prato. His father intended him for the legal profession, and sent him for the necessary studies to Montpellier (1319-23) and to Bologna (1323-5). Francesco disliked the career chosen for him, and devoted himself as much as possible to belles-lettres. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

On Easter Sunday, 1341 Francesco was publicly crowned as poet and historian in Italy. He spent his time seeking the codices to preserve the priceless literary works of antiquity, and occasionally occupying clerical posts. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

As a scholar, Petrarch possessed encyclopedic knowledge, which constitute the larger part of his production in both prose and verse. They include: the "Africa" in hexameters, dealing with the Second Punic war and especially with the adventures of Scipio Africanus, the "Carmen bucolicum," the "Epistolæ metricæ," the "De contemptu mundi", the "De vita solitaria"; the "De ocio religiosorum", some "Psalmi poenitentiales" and some prayers; a number of historical and geographical works, among which figure the "Rerum memorandarum libri quattuor" and the "De viris illustribus". (Catholic Encyclopedia)


Photographs of the Garden

Further Reading:

The Petrarchan Grotto

Medieval Sourcebook: Letters of the Petrarch from 1372

Information on the Italian Garden

Catholic Encyclopedia

Cleveland State University, Special Collections Library.

The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.