Francesco Petrarca (or Petrarch) was a Renaissance humanist, historian, and poet. He is widely recognized as the “father of humanism.” He played a major role in launching the Renaissance in literature.
Francesco Petrarca was born on July 20, 1304 in Arezzo. His father, Pietro di Parenzo, was a notary who had migrated to Florence from his hometown of Incisa. In 1305, Petrarch and his mother, Eletta Canigiani, moved to Incisa, where his brother Gherardo was born in 1307. The family spent six years in Incisa and moved to Pisa in 1311. The following year they moved to Carpentras in southern France. In 1316, his father decided that Petrarch should become a lawyer and sent him to the University of Montpellier.
In 1320, Francesco and his brother went to Bologna to continue his legal studies. When his father died in April 1326, he returned to Avignon.
On April 6, 1327 in the Church of Saint Clare in Avignon, Petrarch saw and fell in love with a woman who inspired his poetic imagination for the rest of his life.