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Pietro Bembo

Pietro Bembo was both witness and participant at the centre of the Italian Renaissance. A celebrated writer, an antiquarian, a man of exquisite taste, and a lover of women and beauty, he was to win both the laurels of a poet and the scarlet robes of a Cardinal. Born in Venice, he travelled to and resided in nearly all the Italian courts, from Lorenzo il Magnifico's Florence to Ferrara, Urbino and Rome. As Latin secretary to Pope Leo X and a lover of Lucrezia Borgia, with whom he exchanged passionate letters in great secrecy, he was an intimate of both the Medicis and the Borgias. His public writing set the style of Italian literary language, and his appreciations of Dante and Petrarch were influential across the whole of Europe. A patron and friend of many of the most refined artists of the Renaissance, from Raphael to Cellini, Bembo also lived through an age of scientific enquiry -- as a boy, he was fascinated with the volcanic processes of Mount Etna -- and the dawn of print culture, in which he also played a role as one of the first contemporary writers to be printed in movable type.Faini's new biography, commissioned by the Fondation Barbier-Mueller pour l'Etude de la poEsie italienne de la Renaissance, aims to recapture, for a general readership, Bembo's unique experience during the most glorious and tormented years of the Italian Renaissance.
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