Ser Petracco
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Ser Petracco
Pietro di Parenzo di Garzo
The family house in Arezzo where Petrarch was born in 1304
The family house in Arezzo where Petrarch was born in 1304
SpouseEletta Canigiani (m. 1302--1319; her death)
Gherardo Petracco
RelativesSer Parenzo (father)

Ser Petracco (Pietro di Parenzo di Garzo; 1267--1326) was the father to the Italian poet Francesco Petrarch.[1] His father was Ser Parenzo, son of Ser Garzo who reputedly lived to be 100. They all were notaries, the same office that Ser Petracco held in Florence.[2] The family did have a small property in Florence. His wife's name was Eletta Canigiani (1270--1319), the mother to Petrarch,[3] whom he married around 1302.[4] Petrarch's granddaughter was named after her.[5]

Ser Petracco was a merchant and also worked for the State. Before he was 35 years old he had already held many high public positions. He was "Chancellor of the Commission for the Reforms" as well as a delegate of an important embassy to Pisa in 1301. At the end of 1302 of his political career he was falsely charged of legal matters in his absence. The sentence was a fine of 1000 Lira or the loss of his right hand. He refused to pay the fine and his property was taken from him.[6] He belonged to the political party of the White Guelphs along with the famous poet Dante, being its most illustrious member. They both were then exiled from Florence by the opposing party, the Black Guelphs.

Francesco Petrarch was an "Aretine" by these mere circumstances - as he always thought of himself really as a Florentine.[7] The family, along with Dante and others that were exiled to Arezzo, found no welcome there. Ser Petracco had to seek employment elsewhere, however his wife and baby Francesco were permitted to go to their little family house they owned in Incisa with relatives.

A family story goes that Francesco was about seven months old when he and his mother moved back to Incisa. Baby Francesco was being transported in a sling arrangement carried over a servant's shoulder. The servant was mounted on a horse. When they crossed through the flooded Arno river the horse slipped and fell. Francesco and the servant went headlong into the water. With much determination and inner strength the servant saved Francesco.

Ser Petracco periodically visited the family in Incisa from his out of town employment. In 1307 Francesco's brother Gherardo was born. About 1310 they were all reunited for a year in Pisa. Around 1311 Ser Petracco got employment in Avignon whither the papal household had moved from Rome. Then in 1312 the boys and his wife moved to Carpentras, where they lived happily for the next four years.[8] Ser Petracco lived in Avignon most of this time because of his employment there in the profession of law. In 1316 he then sent Petrarch and his brother to study law at the University of Montpellier.[9]



  1. ^ Petrarch: his Life and Times, by Henry Calthrop Hollway
  2. ^ Clayton J Drees. 2001. The late medieval age of crisis and renewal: 1300-1500: a biographical dictionary. On the page 393 Ser Petrarco is mentioned in his son's biography.
  3. ^ Petrarch: a critical guide to the complete works, 2009. Edited by Victoria Kirkham and Armando Maggi.
  4. ^ Family tree
  5. ^ Julia L. Hairston and Walter Stephens. 2010. The Body in Early Modern Italy. Page 57.
  6. ^ Steps, Faith to Reason, page 150
  7. ^ Chaucer and Petrarch by William T. Rossiter
  8. ^ Timeline of Petrarch
  9. ^ John H. Plumb, The Italian Renaissance, 1961; Chapter XI by Morris Bishop "Petrarch", pp. 161-162; New York, publisher American Heritage ISBN 0-618-12738-0

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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