Study Guide

Italia Mia Patriotism

By Petrarch

Patriotism

Patriotism is a complicated issue in "Italia mia," especially since Italy is not a unified country in Petrarch's day. Nevertheless, Petrarch loves him some Italy. It's clear that his loyalties lie with the land of his birth. This fierce love may seem curious, since Petrarch grew up in France after his father was exiled from Florence. Perhaps the loss of his homeland encouraged such strong loyalty. In light of this love affair, our poet's righteous indignation at the shenanigans of the ruling class is understandable. He wants to remind the ruling class why they all live and breathe: to preserve the precious body of the beloved homeland.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. Why is Petrarch so full of praise and love for Italy?
  2. Where do Petrarch's loyalties lie? With a particular prince or commune? How can you tell?
  3. Why does Petrarch focus so strongly on the geography of Italy in this poem?
  4. What is Petrarch actually asking the Italian princes to do in this poem?

Chew on This

Petrarch isn't an amateur cartographer. He's using geographical details to illustrate what is endangered by the nobility's risky behavior.

Although Petrarch is writing his poem to beg for peace, his goal is a return to the values of the Roman Republic, including the virtues of civic responsibility and self-denial.

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