Study Guide

Chiare Fresche et Dolci Acque Setting

By Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch

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Petrarch does not mention specifics concerning the "clear, fresh and sweet waters" he addresses in the poem. But you can bet that scholars have spent a long time debating just which watery body this might be. The consensus is that Laura must have been resting her lovely side near the Sorgue River near Vaucluse, in the south of France. Both Petrarch and Laura grew up in this place and Petrarch had a little home near the river itself there. It's easy to see why the natural setting would have brought the fresh and beautiful Laura immediately before Petrarch's eyes: the place is a little wild, very green and lovely—and divided by the fantastically beautiful river.

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