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Francesco Petrarca, known as Petrarch, was an Italian poet and a leader of the revival of interest in Antiquity. Born in Arezzo in 1304, his family moved to Avignon in 1311, following the move there of the papacy.

There he fell in love with Laura to whom he wrote love poetry. Her portrait was painted by Simone Martini. Though Petrarch never married, eventually taking holy orders, he fathered two children.

In 1341 he received the poet's laurel crown on the Capitoline in Rome, the first modern poet for whom this ancient practice was revived. His concern for the past and his poetry and letters were of great importance to Renaissance humanists. He died in 1374. His poetry, and in particular his sonnets, were enormously influential all over Europe from the 14th century until the 17th.