The entrance to the Casa del Petrarca is through an archway into the first kitchen garden called the Citerior, where Petrarch loved growing laurel, vines, apples and pears, and aromatic plants which were particularly important to him. Visitors today are still greeted by a whole host of plants, such as the small boxwood shrubs arranged to create a little maze. The house was not built by Petrarch himself, it pre-dates his arrival in the village. The story goes that it was donated to him by the Lord of Padua, Francesco il Vecchio da Carrara. Petrarch did make some changes to the house, adding some windows to the façade and turning it into a single dwelling with two living spaces, keeping the downstairs one for him and his family and leaving the upstairs one for the servants. After his death, further changes were made to the house. In the middle of the 16th century, the Paduan nobleman Pietro Paolo Valdezocco improved the rustic home by adding an attractive loggia in the Renaissance style and an external staircase. In the rooms on the upper floor, he had frescoes painted depicting scenes inspired by Petrarch’s works including Il Canzoniere, I Trionfi and Africa and decorated the fireplaces.
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