[Petrarch and his places. Real spaces and poetic landscapes at the origins of the modern sense of nature]
For Francesco Petrarch space and time assume precise shape and extent in his solitude and work. His homes, his gardens, his landscapes have once again become an irresistible gravitational centre for our European culture. They are tangible places, endowed with an immense philological heritage accumulated over seven centuries and charged with a ceaseless metamorphosis of their myth.
This publication represents a joint effort to take critical stock of an amalgam of the ideas, sciences and arts of landscape and gardening and to delineate a sort of atlas that will provide guidance in what Andrea Zanzotto calls the «collection of secure houses where one can settle, “quiet doors” that will be available everywhere», which the poet has organized in the course of his life. If we exclude, therefore, experiences that nevertheless mark inevitable stages in the construction of the idea of landscape in Petrarch, places that we should at least have mentioned, like Mont Ventoux, Mont Sainte Baume and the Ligurian Riviera, which made such a deep impression on him at the age of eight, Baia and the Phlegraean Fields, the Monginevro Pass and the sources of the Adige, the collection of quiet (and unquiet) doors of a free spirit peregrinus ubique, does in any case present open confines. When should we start? At Incisa, in the first six years of his life? At Pisa, when he was a seven-year-old? Immediately afterwards, at Avignon and Carpentras? In the places of his early youth, of his many years of study in Montpellier and Bologna, which must have been vivid in his memory? In the house where he stayed at Lombez, which he often described nostalgically? Then, of course, come the places he himself designated as embodying the home-garden-landscape trinity status. So Vaucluse, and the fulfilment, at the age of thirty, of an ambition he had had since he was eleven. The two homes in Parma, one in the city and the other in the mountains at Selvapiana. The three homes in Milan, at Sant’Ambrogio, Garegnano and San Simpliciano. And other houses, perhaps no more than staging posts, in familiar cities like Pavia e Verona. And after oscillating between the centre of Padua and Riva degli Schiavoni in Venice, he spent the last five years of his life at Arquà in solitary study and gardening, a much loved and universally praised 65/70-year-old.
Our wish, in short, is to stimulate the reader to want to go, or return, to the “places” of Petrarch’s life (and his works, (for the literary historian “place” designates a precise textual reference), steering clear of dry academicism to dialogue with a figure who continues to challenge our sense of nature, our ways of measuring space and time and our conceptions of the shape and life of places, all with the immediacy and pathos of someone who could be our contemporary.
Domenico Luciani. Architect and landscape expert, deeply involved in the battle of ideas concerning the natural and cultural heritage. He directed the Fondazione Benetton from its founding in 1987 until 2009 and now coordinates its landscape research and experimentation activities, including the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens; together with Lionello Puppi, he directs the series entitled “Memorie” and edits the volumes with joint authorship, such as Luoghi. Forma e vita di giardini e di paesaggi (2001). He has been a member of various international scientific committees associated with important European experiments in the transformation of post-industrial and post-mining sites. He has published essays and articles in a number of Italian and foreign journals.
Monique Mosser. Historian of art, architecture and gardens. A leading figure in support of measures to safeguard the cultural heritage in Europe. Lecturer at the School of Architecture of Versailles. Researcher at the CNRS (Centre André Chastel, Paris). Author of a vast body of original work, with articles, essays, and monographs on historic gardens and landscapes, including L’architettura dei giardini d’Occidente dal Rinascimento al Novecento (1990, with Georges Teyssot), translated into several languages and reissued many times. She works with important landscape designers and architects and is a member of ICOMOS-IFLA; she is a member of various scientific committees, including that of the Fondazione Benetton, and of a number of juries, including that of the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens.
Domenico Luciani and Monique Mosser, Vacate et videte, VII
Eugenio Battisti, Non chiare acque, 1
Massimo Venturi Ferriolo, «Mirarer singula». Paesaggi tra«cupiditas videndi» e «beata vita in ascensu montis», 27
Hervé Brunon, Locus secretus: topique et topophilie, 41
Nicholas Mann, Dall’orto al paesaggio. Petrarca tra filologia e natura, 57
Lionello Puppi, Tradizione dell’idea di villa. Dall’antichità all’umanesimo attraverso Petrarca, 71
Marco Trisciuoglio, Horti, dimore, selve e montagne. Francesco Petrarca e la costruzione dell’idea di paesaggio, 79
Giovanni Galli, Il bosco e la casa: luoghi parmensi del Petrarca, 99
Gherardo Ortalli, La ricerca della solitudine in un paesaggio di pietra. Petrarca a Venezia, 105
Sante Bortolami, Arquà e il paesaggio euganeo ai tempi del Petrarca, 117
Ève Duperray, Le gouffre, la rime et le laurier. Une idéalisation du paysage de Vaucluse de Pétrarque aux romantiques, 139
Monique Mosser, «Le plus riant vallon qu’éclaire l’œil du monde». Entre pittoresque et sublime: le pèlerinage à Vaucluse et la mémoire de Pétrarque dans les jardins au XVIIIe siècle, 153
Nerte Dautier, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Pour un projet global de protection et de mise en valeur: à la recherche du génie du lieu, 179
Roland Pastor, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. L’eau et le sacré, 193
Francesco Petrarca, Ad Guidonem Septem archiepyscopum Ianuensem, 203
Giosuè Carducci, Il Petrarca alpinista, 207
Giovan Andrea Gesualdo, De la Sorga, 211
Ambrogio Annoni, Il Petrarca in villa. Nuove ricerche sulla dimora del poeta a Garegnano, 215
Arnaldo Foresti, Il Petrarca ristaura la sua casa in Parma, 231
Chronological list of the most important of Petrarch’s places, 237
Bibliographical note, 239
List of illustrations, 245
List of contributing authors, 247
Index of names and places, 249