Study Guide

Italia Mia The Body of Italy

By Petrarch

The Body of Italy

Petrarch imagines Italy as a beloved person who is suffering from wounds in lines 1-3:

O, my own Italy, though words be useless
to heal the mortal wounds
I see covering all your lovely body...

On the one hand, Petrarch is really making a love connection with the land of his birth. She (Italia) is dear to him—and to all Italians—and to see its beauty destroyed through warfare causes the sorrow that we hear in his tone throughout.

On the other hand, we can read this "body" as the body politic, representing all Italians who suffer from the widespread violence between noble houses. Either way, there's real blood being shed, and the point of this poem is to spare the country and its people from further disrespect.

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