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Short biography
Francesco Petrarca or Petrarch is called the father of Italian humanism. His earliest years were spent in Tuscany. His father, a law clerk, moved the family to Pisa and later to Avignon, France, then a seat of the Papacy. He was trained at the universities of Montpellier and Bologna for the legal profession but disliked it as a career and instead devoted himself to literature. He took minor clerical orders and entered the service of Cardinal Colonna. It was at Avignon in 1327 that Petrarch saw for the first time Laura, the lady who was to be the inspiration of his famous love poetry. His work was admired throughout Europe and became a model for other writers such as Boccaccio and Dante. Both Laura and Cardinal Colonna died in 1348; Petrarch thereafter became dedicated to the cause of Italian unification, pleaded for the return of the Popes to Rome, and served the Visconti family of Milan.
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