The Petrarca House in Arquà (PD)

In 1369, Francesco Petrarca (Arezzo 1304-Arquà 1374), tired of his continuous wandering and by now old and ill, had a house in the Euganean village of Arquà readapted and elected it as a refuge for his last days. Here he spent the last years of his life in peace, surrounded by new and old friends and family: his daughter Francesca, son-in-law Francescuolo and granddaughter Eletta. Here he continued his studies and finally died on the night of 18-19 July 1374. The house was possibly given to Petrarch by Francesco I da Carrara, lord of Padua and a sincere friend of the poet. Petrarch decided to restore it, adapting it to his needs and personally supervising the work. He had the two pre-existing bodies of the building joined together and used the raised floor as a residence for himself and his family, and reserved the building on the right, where the main entrance was also located, for servants and services. At the front was the garden, at the back the brolo.

Excellencies of the villa: Venus’s room was perhaps originally Petrarch’s bedroom: on one wall is a fresco depicting Petrarch sitting by a spring with a book in his hand and a woman with a child in front of him. Most probably the reference is to Petrarch’s song ‘Qual più diversa et nova’, number 135 of the Canzoniere. In Petrarch’s studiolo, the walls still show traces of the original fourteenth-century decoration, and this room contains the chair and the ancient cabinet-bookcase that would have been used by Petrarch, according to a tradition dating back to the 16th century. In the Room of Visions, the well-preserved pictorial frieze features scenes inspired by Petrarch’s song “Standomi un giorno solo a la fenestra”, No. 323 of the Canzoniere known as the Song of Visions. In Lucretia’s room is a valuable stucco relief painted in the 16th century depicting the Roman heroine Lucretia dying.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Opening hours: Summer: 9-12.30 a.m. / 3-7 p.m.; Winter: 9-12.30 a.m. / 2.30-5.30 p.m.

Admission: full price € 4.00, reduced € 2.00 free for under 17s, disabled, citizens of Padua* every 1st Sunday of the month, unemployed, over 65 every 1st Tuesday of the month, Italian and foreign university lecturers, journalists, guides

Source: www.veneto.eu

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