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Francesco Petrarch

            Francesco Petrarch's poetry had a great effect on the poems of later poets such as Shakespeare and Chaucer. His works were considered to be the first "modern" poems and the inventor of the sonnet, writing over 300 sonnets. .
             Francesco was born in Arezzo, Italy, July 20th, 1304. His family moved to Florence early in his life. There his father, Petracco, was a court clerk, but he was forced to leave in 1302, and went back to Arezzo.
             In 1310 his father moved the family to Pisa. Between 1315 and 1319 young Petrarch was trained at a school for legal workers, under the Italian Convenevole da Prato. His father wanted him to be in the legal profession, and sent him to the necessary schools at Montpellier and Bologna. Francesco didn't want to be an attorney, and devoted himself as much as possible to humanistic writings. When Francesco's father died in 1323, Francesco returned to Avignon. He enjoyed the decedent life as an aristocrat at Avignon, and there on Good Friday 1327 he saw for the first time Laura, the lady who was to be the inspiration and subject of his most famous works. Many people have doubted her existence. The majority of historians believe that she was truly a person, and some identify her as Laura, the wife of Hugues de Sade. .
             About 1330 the poet began a period of restless wandering, in search of more and more knowledge. In 1333 he made a journey through northern France and through Germany, recording his observations and experiences in his letters. Back at Avignon he journeyed to Italy in 1336. He entered Rome for the first time in January 1337. After his trip through Italy he settled down in Vaucluse, France. Here Petrarch found the peace and the inspiration that produced some of his best poems. Accepting an invitation to go to Rome on Easter Sunday, 1341, he was given the great honor to be publicly crowned as poet and historian in the Capitol. For a number of years he wandered about from one Italian city to another, seeking the ancient works that had the priceless ancient literature.

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