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Arquà Petrarca, Italy

Casa del Petrarca (Petrarch House Museum)

A modest museum in the final home of Italian poet and father of modern Italian, Francesco Petrarca. 

Petrarch, one of the first Humanists, was a founding figure in the Italian Renaissance, and the poet who helped solidify modern Italian, spent his final years tending vegetables in this incredibly old house, which predates even his own residence there. Years later, in the 16th century, the home was turned into a museum by the owner, Paolo Valdezocco, who commissioned frescoes of Petrarch and additions to the modest house, which he felt did not befit such a great poet. 

The Casa del Petrarca sits overlooking the medieval town of Arquà Petrarca, a town now named for Petrarch himself. After having it renovated, he moved in around 1369 after years of traveling around Italy. Five years later, he died, leaving it in the hands of his son and, later, a number of aristocratic families until it was given to the government of Padua in the 19th century.

One of the most notable of these aristocratic owners was Paolo Valdezocco, a man transfixed with the legacy of Petrarch, who transformed the building completely. Valdezocco had celebratory frescoes painted, depicting the life and the content of some of the works of the poet. Today, with the help of some minor conservation efforts, the home still stands as Valdezocco left it, a relic of Petrarch and his unique position between medieval and renaissance Italy.