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Short Biography, Timeline, Facts and History about the life of Petrarch, the famous Italian scholar, humanist and poet. He was famous for the collection of the Sonnets of Francesco Petrarch and his Rhyme Scheme. His famous works included the Canzoniere dedicated to Laura. This article provides details of his life in short facts and some Francesco Petrarch Quotes. He is considered to be one of the fathers of the Renaissance.


Short Biography, facts and interesting information about Petrarch the life of a famous historical
character during the Middle Ages

Francesco Petrarch
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the key dates and events in the life of Francesco Petrarch who was famous as a Medieval Italian scholar, poet, and humanist.


Short Biography profile and facts about the life of Francesco Petrarch
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life and history of Francesco Petrarch a famous Medieval character of the Middle Ages:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Also Known by the name: Francesco Petrarca and Francis Petrarch 
  • Lifespan: 1304 - 1374
  • Date of Birth: He was born in 1304 in Arezzo near Florence , Italy
  • Family connections : He was the the son of a notary called Ser Petracco
  • The family of Francesco Petrarch: As his career was in the Catholic church he was not allowed to marry. But Francesco Petrarch did father two children by a woman or women unknown. His son, Giovanni, was born in Avignon in 1337 and his daughter, named Francesca, was born in Vaucluse in 1343
  • Early Life and Education - Career: 
    • 1319 - 1323: He first studied in Avignon and then studied at Montpellier
    • 1323 - 1325: Francesco Petrarch studied law in Bologna
    • 1326: He returned to Avignon after the death of his father where he worked as a clerk
    • 1326: Francesco joined the Franciscan Friars
    • 1327: Francesco Petrarch met Laura in Avignon in the church of Saint Claire
      • Laura de Noves was the 19 year old wife of Hugues de Sade
    • He became a prolific writer of sonnets
    • 1337: Francesco first visited Rome
    • 1337: Francesco Petrarch became the father of his son Giovanni who was born in Avignon
    • 1341: He was made poet laureate in Rome
    • 1343: Francesco Petrarch became the father of his daughter Francesca who was born in Vaucluse
    • 1345 - 1347: He wrote Bucolicum Carmen and De Vita Solitaria
    • 1348: The death of Laura de Sade, possibly of the Black Death
    • Francesco Petrarch worked as a diplomat and travelled to many major cities in Europe
    • 1367:  Francesco Petrarch retired to Padua
    • 1374: Francesco Petrarch died in Arqua in the Euganean Hills
  • Date of Death: Francesco Petrarch died on July 18, 1374
  • Cause of the death of Francesco Petrarch: The Black Death which ravaged the countries of Europe
  • Accomplishments or why he was famous: Italian scholar, poet, and humanist. Famous for his poems which were addressed to Laura.
  • He is considered as one of the fathers of the Renaissance.
  • Francesco Petrarch was very inspired by the buildings of ancient Rome and Greece and was influential in reviving the ideas and ideals from the Greek and Roman times. Petrarch and his followers called themselves 'Humanists' because they believed that a manís life on earth should be thought of very highly
  • Prior to the Renaissance, or rebirth, art, architecture, sculpture and literature were based only on religious themes, with the beginning of the Renaissance, artists began to focus on nature and the human form

Francesco Petrarch
The story and biography of Petrarch which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of this Medieval person of historical importance.

The Sonnets of Francesco Petrarch
The sonnets - Francesco Petrarch perfected the unknown sonnet form for his poems to Laura. His form of sonnets is known as the Petrarchan sonnet.

Petrarch Rhyme Scheme
His sonnet follows a set rhyme scheme ( Petrarch Rhyme Scheme ), which runs as follows: abba abba cdc dcd. The first eight lines of the sonnet (the octave) do not often deviate from the abba abba pattern, but the last six lines of the sonnet ( sestet)  frequently follow a different pattern. Each line also has the same number of syllables, usually 11 or 7 in the sonnets by this famous poet. In comparison the English Sonnet has 10 syllables per line. The sonnet became the preferred form for poets such as Ronsard, Gongora, Spenser and William Shakespeare.

Canzone Petrarch - The Canzoniere
Petrarch is also famous for using the Canzone scheme. The canzone ('song' of Provencal origin) with verses of different lengths and with an elaborate rhyme scheme. The Canzoniere, a collection of love lyrics by Francesco Petrarch, had enormous influence on the poets of the 15th and 16th centuries. His  love for Laura was expressed in the Rime sparse ("Scattered rhymes"). Later Renaissance poets copied the style of Francesco Petrarch and named this collection of 366 poems and sonnets the Canzoniere ("Song Book").

The works of Francesco Petrarch
He is best known for his Italian poetry and sonnets notably the Canzoniere and the Trionfi ("Triumphs"). The "Trionfi", was written by Francesco Petrarch in terza rima is allegorical and moral in its nature

Francesco Petrarch Quotes
The following are Francesco Petrarch quotes:

"To be able to say how much you love is to love but little"
 Petrarch wrote in 'To Laura in Death'.

"Each famous author of antiquity whom I recover places a new offence and another cause of dishonor to the charge of earlier generations, who, not satisfied with their own disgraceful barrenness, permitted the fruit of other minds, and the writings that their ancestors had produced by toil and application, to perish through insufferable neglect. Although they had nothing of their own to hand down to those who were to come after, they robbed posterity of its ancestral heritage."

Francesco Petrarch personally discovered a collection of Cicero's letters not previously known to have existed and then wrote this quote reflecting his horror and disdain of the ignorance of his era. Francesco is credited with creating the concept of the Dark Ages which was later adopted as a reference to

"Where are the numerous constructions erected by Agrippa, of which only the Pantheon remains? Where are the splendorous palaces of the emperors?"
Francesco Petrarch wrote this famous quote in 1337 when he visited Rome for the first time.

"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."
Written by the poet in  'Letter to Posterity' reflecting on his unrequited love and the early death of Laura.

Famous People of the Middle Ages - Petrarch
Some interesting facts and short biography information about the History, Life & Times of this famous Italian poet. Additional details, facts, history and information about the famous people of the Middle Ages and important events during their times can be accessed via the Middle Ages Sitemap.


  • Interesting Facts and information about this famous poet in the Middle Ages
  • Short Biography, Timeline, Facts and History about the life of the Italian poet
  • Interesting Timeline, Facts and information about the poet
  • The Sonnets and Rhyme Scheme of the great Italian poet
  • The Canzoniere dedicated to Laura
  • Francesco Petrarch Quotes


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