solitary hill has always been dear to me
And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of
The endless horizon
But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts
Endless spaces beyond the hedge
An all encompassing silence and a deeply and profound quiet
To the point that my heart is almost overwhelmed
And when I hear the wind rustling through the trees
I compare its voice to the infinite silence.
And eternity occurs to me, and all the ages past,
And the present time, and its sound.
Amidst this immensity my thought drowns;
And to flounder in this sea is sweet to me.
Infinito di Giacomo
A frugal mother, Adelaide, who came from an old, established Marchigiani
family and a father, Monaldo, who on the contrary was partial to
excessive spending but who at least established an extensive library
which became the inexhaustible source of studying and reading at which
Giacomo Leopardi, although still a child, quenched his intense thirst
for knowledge. It was in the quiet environment of the provincial town of
Recanati that the great poet was born on the 29 June 1798.
just a few years, Giacomo
Leopardi was already beginning to enjoy
studying various languages, translating the classics and reading all
types of essays: from the history of natural science to philology
through to both classic and modern languages. In
1813 he had already written two tragedies La
virtu Indiana e Pompeo in Egitto and,
La Storia dell’astronomia dalla sua origine fino all’anno 1811 and,
in 1815, Il Saggio sopra gli
errori popolari degli antichi and
L’Orazione degli italiani in occasione della liberazione.
was from 1816 that he started to undertake his first poetic works,
providing him with a voice to express his feeling of suffocation under
the authority of his father who wanted him to be a priest and wouldn’t
allow him to go out of the house alone until he was twenty. Due to his
delicate health and conscious of his extremely fragile disposition he
defined himself as a “mobile sepulchre”. He had a tendency to fall
in love with women who disregarded him, and so it was that Giacomo
Leopardi started to cultivate a highly pessimistic view of modern
society, reacting against the corruption of nature.
around twenty years old, following his readings of Pascal, Voltaire and
Rosseau, the poet turned his attentions towards philosophy, and it was
in 1819 that he wrote the wonderful poetic compositions of L’Infinito,
Alla luna and Canzoni,
which was published just five years later.
1822 Leopardi was allowed to go to Rome to visit a cousin; however the
eternal city and the literary environment disappointed him enormously
and so the following year he returned to Recanati where, in 1824, he
composed the Operette morali.
It was his personal vision of absolute pessimism; he explored the way in
which nature inspires unattainable desires of happiness in men, causing
them both pain and frustration. From the following year until 1828,
thanks to a publishing collaboration, he went to Milan, Bologna,
Florence and Pisa. They were profitable years in which he wrote the Versi,
Il Risorgimento and the consuming A
returned to Florence in 1830 and there, in spite of his irreverent and
sullen ways in his confrontations of all and everything, he enjoyed a
period of intense socialising, along with delusional love affairs, such
as his unrequited loved for Fanny Targioni Tozzetti which inspired the
series Aspasia. It was in
Florence the he met Antonio Ranieri, whose friendship faithfully
accompanied him during the following years. Florence was also where
Leopardi continued in his often caustic analysis of spiritualistic
ideology and of contemporary society, he wrote the Dialogo
di Tristano e di un amico and
Dialogo di un venditore di almanacchi e di un passeggero.
1833 he moved to Naples with his friend Ranieri, and here he saw the
publication of the Palinodia al marchese Gino Capponi, La Ginestra, Il tramonto della luna
e I nuovi credenti. However, his already unstable health was
deteriorating with continuous asthma attacks and a serious eye infection.
He died on 14th June 1837, it was said to be from an
infection with cholera which lead to a stronger than usual asthma attack.
However, it was also said that he had a sweet tooth and was extremely
greedy and that it may have been caused by indigestion from Confetti di
Sulmona (sugared almonds). Perhaps there is some consolation in the idea
that for a man who felt the weight of his existence and the
disillusionment with life, at least during his last moments on earth he
had savoured the sweet taste of sugared almonds.