Il Golfo di Lerici lies on the Ligurian coast, about halfway between Genoa and Livorno. Commonly, albeit unofficially, is also known as Il Golfo dei Poeti….
The Renaissance poet Francesco Petracco (aka Petrarch, to the English; Petrarca to the Italians) travelled extensively throughout Europe – indeed, as well as his more famous epithet: “The Father of Humanism”, he is also sometimes known as “The Father of Tourism” – yet of all the places he visited, the Bay of Lerici always held a special place in his heart.
Petrarch’s influence on English literature begins with his contemporary Geoffrey Chaucer (40 years his junior), and extends to Percy Bysshe Shelley, who came here with Mary to live, write, and, tragically, die: he drowned just a short way along the coast from here when his boat was struck by a storm as he was returning to his beloved Lerici from Livorno.
The literary connection continues with Emma Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, who had a villa built in the hills above the town. Lord Byron and the 20th century Genoese poet Eugenio Montale were frequent visitors. Visit www.italytravelandlife.com to read Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici, by Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Image © Turismo in Liguria.