Petrarch and his places

International Landscape Study Days

2005, second seminar
4h-5th February 2005

In the profusion of editorial and philological initiatives on Francis Petrarch (1304-1374) and his work in the seventh centenary of his birth, we are struck by a peculiar lack of reflection on the crucial role he played in history regarding the idea of landscape. This lack is even more incredible considering that legislative, formative and design proposals concerned with the landscape have proliferated in these last few years providing the conditions to prepare a European Convention.

The study days therefore set out to make a contribution to appreciating what would seem the inclination truly peculiar to Petrarch to build an understandable relationship between his idea of nature, his idea of landscape and the choice of places in his life; a process by which he gave tangible shape and size to the space and time of his solitude and his industriousness. His houses, his gardens, his landscapes are still, again, for us and perhaps even more than for the generations that have preceded us, gravitational centres of our historicism. Petrarch’s places, and the reasons behind the endless metamorphosis of their myth, urge and aid us not only to review a long series of ideas, sciences and landscape arts, but also to discuss and envisage times and methods for their protection and positive exploitation.

The meeting included general contributions and specific forays, to Vaucluse and Arquà in particular, with the idea of also getting to know the current conditions and learning about the intentions of those in charge.

The study days concluded with a session dedicated to Eugenio Battisti, on the occasion of the publication of a selection of his papers, an introduction to his methods of research and his conclusions, both of which form an essential reference in this field of study