Author, Humanist. He is considered one of the founders of the Renaissance, and his poetry had an enormous influence on world literature. Petrarch's fame rests mainly on the "Book of Songs", 366 poems which address his lifelong unrequited love for a mysterious woman named Laura. In many of these he developed and perfected the sonnet form, and the "Petrarchian sonnet" still bears his name. A great scholar, he rediscovered many Ancient Greek and Roman writers and his belief that there was no real conflict between Classical and Christian thought anticipated the Renaissance spirit. Petrarch was born Francesco Petrarca in Arezzo, Italy, and took Minor Orders in the Catholic Church in 1330. He spent his most productive years in France, where his father was in political exile. In Avignon he supposedly met the 19-year-old wife of Hugues de Sade, who many believe was the Laura of his poems. Petrarch's learning was so widely respected that rulers and popes sought his services, and in 1341 he was named Poet Laureate of Rome. He died in Arquà, Italy, and seven years later his body was moved to a sarcophagus in a public square in the city. In November of 2003, his body was exhumed and it was discovered that the skull found in the casket was not his.
Bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni