Passions & Places

Giacomo Leopardi's house

Casa Leopardi
Via Leopardi, 14_ Recanati (Macerata)
Giacomo Leopardi
(Recanati 1798 - Napoli 1837)

The library of the Leopardi palace is one of the specialized Museums of the ‘Musei Diffusi project’. It is located on the first floor of the house. 

There it is also possible to visit the display about Giacomo Leopardi life. Leopardi was born in the family house on the 29th June 1798 where his heirs still live. His father, the Earl Monaldo was a conservative noble and a reactionary intellectual. He and his wife Adelaide Antici Mattei brought up their children following a rigid and religious education. 

When in 1803 the Earl Monaldo was exempted from the house management, he devoted himself to an ambitious, but unsuccessful, writing career. It was in that period, though, that he started to make his library one of the most furnished in all Europe. Leopardi’s mother, a despotic, bigot was mainly concerned with the care and increment of the family fortune. 

Giacomo grew old completely lacking any type of parental love. The only affective relationships he could have were those with his brother, Carlo, and sister, Paolina. He spent the greatest part of his youth in the family library. 

There he cultivated and developed his interests and skills. Those were the years of the ‘crazy and desperate studying’ of which the poet told us. The atmosphere was so oppressive in his house that Leopardi tried, in vain, to escape from it and from the reality of a land completely influenced by the Papal States such as Marche was in1819. 

As soon as three years after the unfortunate attempt Giacomo moved to Rome to stay with his cousin. From there he travelled then all around Italy and it is of that period the publishing of some of his works thanks to the financial aid of some of his friends. 

He went to Milan and from there to Bologna, Pisa, Florence and finally Naples. There he definitely settled after a brief compulsive visit back to Recanati in 1828. His life wasn’t bound to be long in fact in the beautiful city of Naples together with a true friend, Ranieri, he also found death in 1837. He was just 39 years old but he could do nothing against cholera. He was buried in St. Vitale, a small local church. In 1839 his remains were moved to the so called ’Virgilius grave’ in Mergellina.

It would be interesting now to continue the description of Leopardi palace. It is remarkable to see how wisely the house was organized. The main front faces in fact South and the garden shelters the house from the Northern winds. In origins the Earls Leopardi resided in Montemorello, one of the three castles under which Recanati was once divided. The current building is the result of the fusion of more constructions carried out by an ecclesiastical architect, Carlo Orazio Leopardi, in mid 1700. He also modified the front and designed the great staircase that is still one of the most appreciated housing projects he took charge of in the city. It is composed of two flights of spiral staircase that lead to the ‘Piano Nobile’. The library is composed of about 15000 volumes that are for reference to anybody interested by authority received from Leopardi heirs. The museum guided visit takes visitors in some rooms of the building, furnished in the style of the epoch whose ceilings are decorated with delicate plasters and tempera colours. It is possible to see the desk in front of which the poet would spend his days. It is now kept in the study of the Earl Monaldo. When you are there give a glance from the window, on the square became famous for the poem ‘Il sabato del villaggio’.

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