Month: December 2015

Guido d’Arezzo

What Petrarch (see previous post) did for poetry, including the invention of the sonnet, another famous Aretini did for music. Guido d’Arezzo, a 10th century mediaeval monk, was the inventor of modern musical notation. His treatise on Gregorian chant was widely read in the Middle Ages.

In Arezzo, there is a statue of Guido d’Arezzo who was also known as Guido Monaco, in Piazza Guido Monaco.

Guido Monaco Arezzo


Petrarch – Arezzo

Francesco Petracco, the 14th century Italian writer known as Petrarch, was born in Arezzo in 1304. Like his friend Boccaccio (see previous post) he travelled widely in Italy and also spent many years in Avignon in the south of France.

Petrarch’s writing along with the works of Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio formed the basis of the modern Italian language. His rediscovery of Latin texts from antiquity and his philosophical writings influenced later thinkers during the Italian Renaissance.

Arezzo honours Petrarch with an impressive statue in the park behind San Donato Cathedral.

Petrarch statue Arezzo

Boccaccio – Arezzo

Giovanni Boccaccio, the Italian poet and writer, died on 21 December 1375. He was born near Florence and spent most of his life in that city, but he also travelled widely in Italy.

We came across a connection to Boccaccio in the Tuscan city of Arezzo, where there is a well related to one of his stories in the Decameron. It is known as Pozzo di Tofano (Tofano’s Well) and is in the via dell’Orto, and quite close to St Donato Cathedral.

Pozzo Tofano Arezzo

Oscar Wilde – Paris 4

Les Deux Magots, the Saint-Germain des Pres café that was made famous post-World War II by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone Beauvoir, is now frequented by celebrities and tourists.

Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce were just two of the many famous customers in the pre-World War era.

But Oscar Wilde was one of its earliest patrons, often at the café during his first visit to Paris in 1881.

Deux Magots Cafe Paris

Nina George – The Little Paris Bookshop 2

The Little Paris Bookshop begins in Paris where bookseller, Jean Perdu, sells books from his barge that is moored on the Seine. In the middle section of the book, Jean travels on the barge through the network of canals that connects Paris to the south of France. He ends up on the Rhone at Avignon, where he leaves the barge in the care of friends.

Avignon is of course famous for its bridge which has only four surviving arches after being damaged in numerous floods. Visitors flock to see it nonetheless because of the French children’s song which begins “Sur le pont d’Avignon…..”. When we visited Avignon a few years ago we found that the bridge also has an interesting connection with Saint Benezet, who in the 12th century, while only a shepherd boy, built a stone bridge across the Rhone.

Avignon Bridge

Nina George – The Little Paris Bookshop

Just started reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” – an international bestseller by German author, Nina George.

The bookshop has a bit of a tenuous connection to Paris as it is located on a barge on the Seine, moored at a quay near the Champs Elysees.

Reading this novel brought back happy memories of our recent visit to Paris, especially strolling along the Port de l’Arsenal past all the barges.