Petrarch and the places he lived


To Francesco Petrarca,

Today I arrived in the city of Avignon, which today still retains a distinctly medieval flavor within its venerable stone walls.

As I twisted through the tortured streets on my way to the Papal Courts, I imagined your hesitant feet making their way along the same path, and felt a twinge of annoyance as I attempted to circumnavigate the milling streets. The Palace de Papes was a remarkable edifice at the heart of the city, and although it is now converted into a museum, it is easy to see the former prominence it must have enjoyed as the center of Christendom.

By the end of the day I began to understand the frustration you must have felt in laboring day after day within these thick stone boundaries. I enjoyed treading the narrow alleys of this city that was so different from anything I had experienced, but I was more than happy to mount my bicycle and leave behind the stench of the sweltering cobblestone streets, heading towards your favorite retreat in Vaucluse.

Written this 18th of July, in the year of Our Lord 2011.