Francesco Petrarca lived quite a long time by the standards of his century — he died just one day before his seventieth birthday.
Petrarca is often mixed up with Dante, although he is a representative of the next generation. Francesco Petrarca’s father was Dante’s peer and close associate. A Florentine notary, he was expelled by the political enemies from the home city together with Dante. Francesco was born in exile, in the city of Arezzo. At the age of nine, he was taken to Avignon, France.
“There is no piety there, no charity, no faith, no reverence or fear of God, nothing sacred, nothing just, nothing reasonable, nothing serious — in a word, nothing human... Everything is tainted with lies and fraud. Minos rules this hellish labyrinth and only gold can make him smile...”
Petrarca was unfair. Instead of curses, he should have praise Avignon he hated so much, a place where he lived and joined the clergy, although he studied law at the University of Bologna. It was this place where he first saw Laura de Sade in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon on the Holy Friday of the year 1327 and fell in love with her at first sight. All of his 366 sonnets dedicated to Laura joined the treasure-house of literature and steeped him with the worldwide fame. Serious Latin works did not bring him such success.