Study Guide

Italia Mia Tough-o-Meter

By Petrarch

Tough-o-Meter

Tree Line (5)

Petrarch relies on some knowledge of the social and political situation in Italy at this time—and maybe some basic understanding of geography. He also makes references to the distant past (Marius drinking more blood than water from the river, the ancient insult to the Bavarians, Julius Caesar's reputation as a punk). All of this means that Canzone 128 can definitely present a challenge on the first read. Once you get a handle on Italians Behaving Badly, though, you'll be sitting pretty. Stick with us and check the "Shout Outs" section to get up to speed.

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