Francesco Petrarca was born in 1304 in a town in Italy. He was an Italian poet who helped to ‘develop’ humanism. For this he earned one of his many titles—Father of Humanism. He was a very self-centered man. For example, he once wrote a poem to a girl he was in love with. It contained one paragraph about her and the rest, some twenty paragraphs, were about himself.
Petrarca’s father wanted him to study law, but he refused. When his father died he turned to poetry.
Petrarca, like most of the Renaissance man after him, was on fire with the burning desire to find and read the ancient manuscripts from famous poets like Cicero, Livy and Virgil.
This famous poet also invented the sonnet.
Petrarca, when he was middle-aged, decided to climb Mt. Ventoux, a mountain in Italy. This is significant because he did it just for fun. No one else would have done that in his day.
Petrarca was known as the world’s first tourist because he traveled all around Europe. Again, this was significant because it was done for fun.
He wrote the basics of the Italian language that we know today.
While he lived, Petrarca was not very respected or appreciated. It was only after he died that he was recognized as great. At the time he led a very different lifestyle than anyone else. It could be because of this that he was shunned by his nation for many years.
However, today he is recognized by people all around the world that he was a very important figure. In fact, because of him (and another artist named Giotto di Bondone), the Renaissance could manifest itself. If it were not for them, we would not know the Renaissance as it is today.