Giuseppe Francesco Antonio Maria Gioachino Raimondo Belli

Giuseppe Francesco Antonio Maria Gioachino Raimondo Belli

Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Death 21 Dec 1863 (aged 72)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Plot Area VIII (Altopiano Pincetto), sector 49
Memorial ID 92977631 · View Source
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Giuseppe Belli was the son of Gaudenzio Belli and Lucia Mazio. Giuseppe's father died, of cholera, in 1802, some time after taking a job in Civitavecchia, Italy. Belli, with his mother and his brother Carlo and sister Flaminia, moved back to Rome, where they were forced to take cheap lodgings in Via del Corso. Giuseppe's mother died in 1807. The children were taken in by their paternal uncle,

Belli began his poetical career initially by composing sonnets in Italian, at the suggestion of his friend, the poet Francesco Spada.

Giuseppe married Maria Conti, in 1816 and this enabled him the ease to develop his literary talents. Belli made some trips to Northern and Central Italy, where he could come in contact with a more evolved literary world, as well with the Enlightenment and revolutionary milieu which was almost totally absent in Rome. It was during a stay in Milan that he came in touch with the rich local tradition of dialect poetry and satire, as modernized by Carlo Porta, whose witty vernacular sonnets provided him with a model for the poems in Roman dialect that were to make him, posthumously, famous.

His sonnets were often satirical and anti-clerical, as when he defined the Cardinals as 'dog-robbers', for example, or Pope Gregory XVI as someone who kept 'Rome as his personal inn'. Nevertheless, Belli's political ideas remained largely conservative throughout his life. During the democratic rebellion of the Roman Republic of 1849 he defended the rights of the pope.

After his wife's death in 1837, Belli's economic situation worsened. In later years Belli lost much of his vitality, and he felt a growing acrimony against the world around him, describing himself as "a dead poet". Consequently, his poetical production dropped off and his last sonnet in dialect dates to 1849.

In his later years Belli worked as artistical and political censor for the papal government. Works of which he denied circulation included those of William Shakespeare, Giuseppe Verdi and Gioacchino Rossini.

He died in Rome in 1863 from a stroke. Belli wanted his sonnets destroyed upon his death, but his son saved them.

Belli's nephew, painter Guglielmo Janni, wrote a monumental biography in 10 volumes, which was published posthumously in 1967.

Harold Norse, a beat poet, while in Italy, began translating the sonnets of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli, written in a Roman dialect. To decode the verse, he consulted street hustlers, and he later said that he did his translations "with a dictionary in one hand and a Roman in the other." His translations were published, with a preface by William Carlos Williams, in "Roman Sonnets" (1960).

The son of Giuseppe Belli and Maria Conti was:
1. Ciro Belli (1824-

Family Members



Hic situs est
Josephus Joachim Belli
qui religione moribus ingenio
exemplar integer acer
carminibus omnigenis
"delectando pariterque monendo"
late enituit
Natus die VII Sept. A MDCCXCI
Vita decessit XXI Decemb.

Francesco Spada
31 dicembre 1863


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  • Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 3 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92977631
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Giuseppe Francesco Antonio Maria Gioachino Raimondo Belli (7 Sep 1791–21 Dec 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92977631, citing Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Anonymous (contributor 46930290) .