1357: Summer at Garegnano
In the spring of 1354 Petrarch had spent some time in the Carthusian monastery at Garegnano, three or four miles west of Milan (see above, p. 62); and now, as the summer was approaching, his thoughts turned again to Garegnano, as we know from the second part of Fam. XIX16, and he decided to spend the summer there. He would have liked to live in the monastery itself, and had some reason to believe that the monks would have welcomed him; but he felt that the servants and horses that he now required would cause too much confusion. He chose, therefore, to live in a house near by, so near that he could come and go freely between the house and the monastery. In this house he lived--unquestionably with occasional trips to the city--until early September.1
He describes the location thus:
The village is on high ground, surrounded by streams which, while not to be compared with our Transalpine Sorgue, are quiet and clear, and wander so pleasantly that one can hardly tell whence they come or whither they are going--in such fashion do they approach each other and diverge and approach again, and through many channels come all into a single river bed.
Of his manner of life, and of the villagers, he writes:
Life goes on for me as usual, except that here in the country I have more freedom. Time would fail me to tell how many city cares I escape here, what country pleasures I enjoy, and how the simple villagers vie with each other in bringing me fruit from their