It’s no news that Italy is one of the favorite destinations of tourists worldwide. With its incredible landscapes, unique architecture and its artistic and cultural history, it is unique, nowhere else in the world compares with it. That is not all, though, because Italy, North to South, is also the home of many famous poets and writers, and the cities and towns where they lived were inspiration for beautiful literary works. We asked ourselves so many times in school what moved these authors to compose these masterpieces, when studying their poems. So, here is a little guide to the places that stimulated the creativity of some of the major Italian poets: enchanting locations that will touch even the most arid of hearts.
Cinque Terre – Eugenio Montale
The great poet and Nobel Prize for Literature winner spent some years in the Cinque Terre villages. The sea, the landscapes and the weather were the three amazing factors that inspired Montale’s works. Monterosso was especially important, as Ossi di Seppia and Le Occasioni, translated into English as Cuttlefish Bones and The Occasions, were written here. The village also hosts the poet’s house, although it is not open to the public anymore, but is still possible to walk the paths around the area, taking in in the nature that the poet celebrated in his work.
San Mauro Pascoli – Giovanni Pascoli
This small village near the riviera in Romagna was the birthplace of one of the most important figures of 19th century Italian literature — and shares its name with him. Giovanni Pascoli was absolutely in love with his region, so much so that he dedicated a poem to it, Romagna, in which he praises the beauty of local nature, villages, summer colors, and remembers his happy childhood in these places. Today, you can visit his museum-house, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the riviera!
Maremma Livornese – Giosuè Carducci
This poet and writer, and first Italian recipient of the Nobel prize for Literature in 1906, owes everything to the Maremma, an amazing area in the heart of Tuscany. The poet eulogized his birthplace in two works especially: in Davanti a San Guido he revisits the places that shaped his childhood, with the famous cypress trees going from Bolgheri to San Guido. This area comprises the Costa degli Etruschi, the Etruscan coast, and it extends inland, all the way to locations like Castagneto Carducci, which bears the name of the great poet.
Recanati – Giacomo Leopardi
“Always dear to me was this solitary hill”… How many times did we recite his poems at school? Leopardi drew inspiration from Recanati and its surroundings, when writing L’Infinito, The Infinite. Il Passero Solitario, The Solitary Bird, is about the mountaintop of Mount Tabor, and Il Sabato del Villaggio, Saturday in the Village, were also composed in this location in the Marche region, which is so charged with the memory of this poet. You should visit this location in Italy at least once in your life, not just to enjoy Leopardi’s ever-present company, but also for its clear seas and hospitable locals.
Marina di Pietrasanta – Gabriele D’Annunzio
D’Annunzio was a remarkable figure in Italian literature in the early 20th century, active in literature as well as in politics and journalism. One of the most inspiring locations for the poet was Marina di Pietrasanta, a gem in the heart of the Versilia region, Tuscany, that is nowadays very popular, especially in summer. The famous poem La Pioggia nel Pineto, Rain in the Pinewoods, was apparently composed in the private gardens of the villa La Versiliana, which he made his home for a while, and which you can also visit today.
Lago di Como – Alessandro Manzoni
“That branch of the lake of Como, which extends towards the south…” is probably one of the most famous quotes in Italian literary history. Manzoni wrote it thinking of his beloved lake. The 19th century poet was always very fond of these areas of Lombardy, as well as Milan, his birthplace, where he also ended his life. The areas between Lecco and Como were some of his favorites though, and they truly are some of most beautiful of Northern Italy, with a peculiar charm, in winter and summer. Lake Como is the deepest of the country, and on its coasts you will find beautiful, romantic restaurants for your weekend getaways!
Arquà – Francesco Petrarca
The great Tuscan poet unknowingly chose an area that became one of the most beautiful Italian villages later on, Arquà Petrarca — the name was changed to honor the writer — in Veneto. During the years he spent here, Petrarca composed his epistolary in Latin prose, which was very important for his work.
Agrigento – Luigi Pirandello
The novelist and playwright that innovated 20th century Italian literature loved Sicily, Agrigento especially. This location, with its remarkable century-long history, hosts the villa in which Pirandello lived, on a cliff on the border between Agrigento and Porto Empedocle. In this house, the writer also painted, thought and reflected. Almost all of his literary production was conceived here.
(Flickr Merlijn Hoek)