A “cavalier pensoso” between Machiavelli and Petrarch


  • Carlo Varotti University of Parma




Whereas much of Machiavellian lyric opus reveals a character of “anti-Petrarchism,” the relationship between Machiavelli and Petrarch’s civil poetry is more complex and intricate. It is not by chance that Machiavelli selected Petrarch’s verses to close . This article explores Machiavelli’s relationship not merely to Petrarch as a poet but notably/especially to the author of Epistulae familiares, a work of great importance for the overall culture of the Renaissance. Considering Machiavelli’s quotes from canzone Spirto gentil (RvfHistory Of Florence (the story of the noble and unfortunate plot of Stefano Porcari), this paper emphasises the complexity of references in these quotations and Machiavelli’s deep meditation on glory and the relationships between ideals and reality. Some subtle allusions and linguistic occurrences reveal that Machiavelli had read and profoundly meditated on Petrach’s Familiares XIII 6, dedicated to Cola di Rienzo’s enterprise. The strong and sometimes cynical sense of reality manifested by Petrarch in that letter clearly made a great impression on the Renaissance writer.