Land of Poets
Italian towns dear to Petrarch, Leopardi and other great artists.
Italy, a land of literary giants and epic poets, is a country in which a holiday can easily be transformed into an intellectual and spiritual experience, visiting places where reality, poetry and literature entwine.
De viris illustribus
The medieval town of Arquà Petrarca, in the Euganean hills, is not only the birthplace of one of the greatest Italian poets, Francesco Petrarca (alias Petrach), it is also one of the towns included in the authoritative guide to The most Beautiful Towns in Italy. Petrach spent the last years of his life here, enchanted by the peaceful landscape, rich in vineyards and woods which reminded him of his beloved Tuscany.
From 1400 onwards, the area was the subject of what might be described as "Petrach-mania", and a great number of noble Venetian families constructed elegant residences here.
Whilst in Arquà, Petrach fans get to visit the poet's 13th century house and garden, his tomb and the fountain from which he apparently drank the water
Idyll of Maremma
In the heart of Maremma, the small towns of Castagneto Carducci and Bolgheri are linked to the life and works of Giosuè Carducci. The poet spent much of his childhood in Bolgheri and memories of this happy period, encouraged him to often return here and to extol its beauty in his "Idyll of Maremma" and the famous "Before San Guido".
The avenue of cypress trees connecting the old via Emilia with the town of Bolgheri is now considered a National Monument!
Saturday in the village
Built on hills looking towards the coast of the Marche, Recanati was the birthplace of Giacomo Leopardi, famous for his works dealing with the conflicting sentiments of love and hate.
Recanati is considered one of Italy's most important "Literary Parks" and no visit to the town can be considered complete without having first seen the tower of Sant Agostino's Cloister, which features in Leopardi's "Lonely Sparrow", the piazzetta, which provided the setting for his "Saturday in the village", and Monte Tabor, the hill described in his "Infinite".
Palazzo Leopardi is still inhabited by descendents of the poet and contains a museum-library with over 25,000 volumes
The Torch under the Bushel
Gabriele D'Annunzio was born in Pescara in 1863 and his extensive literary canon includes a number of works dedicated to the region of Abruzzo. One of his most famous tragedies, "The Torch under the Bushel", was set in the town of Anversa degli Abruzzi. Anversa degli Abruzzi is famous for its impressive Norman castle and its proximity to the Gole del Sagittario, now a WWF reserve. The Sagittario River no longer flows through the gorge, but the landscape remains as breathtaking today as in the days when D'Annunzio first fell in love with the place.
D'Annunzio was particularly fond of the town of San Domenico a Cocullo, best known for the annual festival of the "serpari", held on the first Thursday of May, during which a statue of the patron saint adorned with a crown of live snakes, is paraded through the town
Visitors will need to head to Sicily to see the places described in the works of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the unforgettable "The Leopard". In Palermo, a Leopard Cultural Park dedicated to the writer has been created, which includes guided tours of Palermo, exploring the quarter of "Kalsa" where Tomasi di Lampedusa spent the latter years of his life.
Tours often commence with a visit to the small Literary Café which is the headquarters of the Leopard Cultural Park. Other options include the trip to Palma di Montechiaro and Santa Margherita Belice, two historic towns on which Tomasi di Lampedusa based his "Donnafugata".
Hotels in the area
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Portoferraio, Isola d'Elba