Thanks to the Municipality of Padua for the phostos
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The original structure of the house - where the famous poet lived - dates back to the 13th century. Built on two levels, the house had been modified by Petrarca himself, who wanted some windows to be opened on the main façade and who divided the lodging into two separated units: he reserved for his family and him the highest floor of the building, situated on the left side, while the servitude lived on right side, where the main entrance is located. During the 16th century, after the poet’s death, the owner of the house of that time, Paolo Valdezzocco, decided to build the lodge in the Renaissance style and the outdoor stairs. Inspired by Petrarca’s works Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Il Canzoniere), I Trionfi and Africa , he ordered to paint the walls.
Via Valleselle, 4
Arquà Petrarca (Padova)
Tel. +39 0429718294
From March to October 9.00-12.30 / 15.00-19.00
From November to February 9.00-12.30 / 14.30-17.30
Monday holidays, Christmas, S. Stephen, New Year's Day, May 1.
€ 4,00 Adults
€ 2,00 Groups
€ 1,00 Schools
The ground floor
People can see the gypsum model of the Petrarca's statue by the sculptor Luigi Ceccon. The original statue is placed in Petrarca's square in Padua. In addition, the visitors can see different photo exhibitions, relating to the figure of the Poet, which are updated periodically.
The mummy of the cat
The glass case keeping the mummy of the female cat, belonged to Petrarca himself, catch the visitors’ attention. Originally located on the upper floor, she was recently moved from the door of the study. Under the mummy, two epigrams written in Latin can be read. They had been dictated by Antonio Quarenghi, president of the Galilean Academy in 1604. This text is an invented direct speech of the cat, where she reveals she was the first love of Petrarca - and not Laura. In fact, if Laura was the inspiration of the poet’s rhymes, the cat was the loyal keeper of his writings, the one who defended them against the assaults of mice. Even dead, she still continues to frighten the mice, as she has always done in the past.All this is very impressive, but it is believed the mummy is a fake, placed in the Petrarca’s house during the 17th century by Girolamo Gabrielli, the owner of that time.
The upper floor
Climbing the external stairs, it is possible to reach the upper floor and so to enter the main room, also called the room of the Metamorphosis. The paintings in it are split into 8 panels and represents scenes inspired to the canzone n. 23 of the Canzoniere, titled Nel dolce tempo della prima etade. In the room, it is exposed the bronze bust of the poet, made by an anonymous artist at the request of Valdezocco. The bust was originally placed above Petrarca’s tomb, but during the last century it was moved in the house. Nowadays, what people can admire above the tomb is a copy of the original.
The name of the room is inspired by a fresco of the fireplace, painted during the first half of the 16th century, representing a naked Venus with Vulcan, forging the weapons of love. From the room, it is possible to admire all the beauty of the Euganean Valley from an iron balcony, built at the end of the 17th century by the Cassici family, the owners of the house at that time. Visitors can enjoy a wonderful view on the hills, in particular on Monte Castello and on Monte Cero, with its characteristic pyramid form.
This room is not accessible. Nevertheless, people can see the chair used by Petrarca to write and to study. The chair – in Moresque style, pliable and carved - is famous because it is said the poet died seated, while he was studying, in the night between the 18th and the 19th of July 1374. Inside the room, also Petrarca’s library is kept. In this library, made up of solid beech wood, the poet used to preserve his beloved books. The frescos of the study are the only one in the house, dating back to the time of Petrarca
Valdezocco, named before, requested to decorate this room with motives deriving from the Petrarca’s canzone titled Standomi solo un giorno alla finestra, the n. 323 of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta. Animals and landscapes are remarkable and elegant and on the right side, it is possible to find a portrait of the Petrarca himself.
The whole room is decorated with frescos inspired by the poet’s work Africa, unfortunately ruined. This room is also known as Cleopatra’s room because the fireplace is decorated with frescos, representing the Egyptian queen being bitten by the snake. On the opposite side of the hood, there is a description of the tragic destiny of the Greek poet Sappho. Over the little door, there is a precious bust of the roman Lucrezia, represented in point of death; for this reason, the room is also called Lucrezia’s room. On the right side, there is the access on other two rooms, where some Petrarca’s precious editions are kept, together with printings and other photos and memories, all recalling the poet’s life.
In each house where Petrarca lived, there was a garden. In fact, the poet extremely liked taking care of aromatic plants, such as the laurel, the grapevines, the apple trees and the rosemary