Petrarch's Poems

Petrarch's Poems Facsimile Edition

Italy — 1366–1374

He gave up the priesthood for her and became a love poet: Petrarch's 40 years of poetic work for his "Laura"

  1. Petrarch (1304-74) abandoned the priesthood in 1327 after falling in love with a woman

  2. He personally finished writing the manuscript begun by Giovanni Malpaghini (ca. 1346-1417)

  3. Before entering the Vatican Library in 1600, the work enjoyed a colorful ownership history

Petrarch's Poems

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Petrarch's Poems

A spectacular collection of love poems written in Italian by the famous humanist author Petrarch with a rich ownership history: Vat. Lat. 3195. Created between 1366 and 1374, which is precisely dated, the manuscript was partially completed by the hand of Petrarch himself after his scribe, Donato Albanzani, quit the project. This historic codex passed through the hands of various scholars and bibliophiles over the next few centuries before it was finally acquired by the Vatican in 1600.

Petrarch's Poems

Commonly known as Il Canzoniere but originally titled the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta or “Fragments of Common Things”, this collection of love poems written over the course of forty years is one of the most popular vernacular works written by the famous Petrarch (1304-74). Petrarch famously gave up the priesthood on April 6th, 1327 after falling in love at first sight with a woman – a certain “Laura” – in the church of Sainte-Claire d'Avignon and was thus inspired to create this epic collection of poems. The Vat. Lat. 3195 is a codex partly copied by Giovanni Malpaghini (ca. 1346-1417), who was responsible for ff.1r-38v and 53r-62r, and partly written by the hand Petrarch himself, which includes ff.38v-49r and 62r-72v. The eventful ownership history of the codex is a clear indication of its literary and historical worth.

A Work in Two Stages

Containing his Canzoniere, the manuscript was written between 1366 and 1374, except for a brief pause between 1367 and 1368, linked to the passage of hands between the two scribes. Malpaghini, in fact, worked on the copy of the text from 1366 to 21 April 1367, a date obtainable from a letter from the copyist to Donato Albanzani in which Malpaghini informs Petrarch of decision not to work for him anymore. However, Petrarch continued the work from 1368 to 1374, the year of his death. The text is adorned by two large golden initials.

The Fate of the Work

There is plenty of data that allow us to reconstruct the history of the manuscript after the author's death. The codex did not have the fate of the other books in Petrarch’s library but became, probably still in the form of loose papers, part of the poet's personal inheritance that went to his heirs, who became related to the Santasofia family. A 1472 copy of the codex was used by Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) for his personal edition, the current Vat. Lat. 3197. When Bembo had the opportunity in 1544, he bought this manuscript, which then passed on to his son Tommaso and subsequently to Fulvio Orsini (1529-1600) before it entered the Vatican’s collections in 1600.


Alternative Titles
Petrarcas Gedichte
Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Codice Vat. Lat. 3195
Size / Format
144 pages / 27.0 × 20.2 cm

Available facsimile editions:
Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Codice Vat. Lat. 3195 Facsimile Edition
Editrice Antenore – Padua, 2003
Limited Edition: 499 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Codice Vat. Lat. 3195

Editrice Antenore – Padua, 2003
Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Codice Vat. Lat. 3195 Facsimile Edition
Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta: Codice Vat. Lat. 3195 Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Editrice Antenore – Padua, 2003
Limited Edition: 499 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Gino Belloni
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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