Francesco Berni
Francesco Berni was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

. He is credited for beginning what is now known as "Bernesque poetry", a serio-comedic type of poetry with elements of satire.


Berni was born about 1497 at Lamporecchio, in Bibbiena
Bibbiena is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany , the largest town in the valley of Casentino. It is located 60 kilometers from Florence, 30 kilometers from Arezzo, 60 kilometers from Siena and 20 kilometers from the Sanctuary of La Verna.The town is on top of a hill at an...

, a town of Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

 lying along the ipper Arno
The Arno is a river in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is the most important river of central Italy after the Tiber.- Source and route :The river originates on Mount Falterona in the Casentino area of the Apennines, and initially takes a southward curve...


His father Nicolò was a notary of a long-established Florentine family, but excessively poor. At an early age he was sent to Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, where he remained until his nineteenth year and wrote a pastoral play, Catrina. In 1517 he set out for Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, in the service of Bernardo Dovizi, Cardinal Bibbiena
Bernardo Dovizi
Bernardo Dovizi or Bibbiena was an Italian cardinal and comedy-writer, known best as Cardinal Bibbiena, for the town Bibbiena, where he was born.-Biography:...

. After the cardinal's death (1520), he was thrown on his own devices. At the time of the election of Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI
Pope Adrian VI , born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens, served as Pope from 9 January 1522 until his death some 18 months later...

 he circulated witty lampoons, for which he was obliged for a time to leave Rome. Later he returned to accept a situation as clerk or secretary to Giovanni Matteo Gilberti, datary to Clement VII
Pope Clement VII
Clement VII , born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici, was a cardinal from 1513 to 1523 and was Pope from 1523 to 1534.-Early life:...

. The duties of his office, for which Berni was in every way unfit, were exceedingly irksome to the poet, who, however, made himself celebrated at Rome as the most witty and inventive of a certain club of literary men, who devoted themselves to light and sparkling effusions.

So strong was the admiration for Berni's verses, that mocking or burlesque
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects...

 poems have since been called poesie bernesca. About the year 1530 he was relieved from his servitude by obtaining a canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

ry in the cathedral of Florence. In that city he died in 1536, according to Romantic tradition poisoned by Duke Alessandro de Medici, for having refused to poison the duke's cousin, Ippolito de' Medici
Ippolito de' Medici
Ippolito de' Medici was the illegitimate only son of Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici.Ippolito was born in Urbino. His father died when he was only five , and he was subsequently raised by his uncle Pope Leo X and his cousin Giulio.When Giulio de' Medici was elected pope as Clement VII, Ippolito...

; but considerable obscurity rests over this story.


Berni stands at the head of Italian comic or burlesque poets. For lightness, sparkling wit, variety of form and fluent diction, his verses are unsurpassed. Perhaps, however, he owes his greatest fame to the recasting (Rifacimento) of Boiardo
Matteo Maria Boiardo
Matteo Maria Boiardo was an Italian Renaissance poet.Boiardo was born at, or near, Scandiano ; the son of Giovanni di Feltrino and Lucia Strozzi, he was of noble lineage, ranking as Count of Scandiano, with seignorial power over Arceto, Casalgrande, Gesso, and Torricella...

's Orlando innamorato
Orlando Innamorato
Orlando Innamorato is an epic poem written by the Italian Renaissance author Matteo Maria Boiardo. The poem is a romance concerning the heroic knight Orlando .-Composition and publication:...

. The enormous success of Ariosto's Orlando furioso
Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532...

had directed fresh attention to the older poem, from which it took its characters, and of which it is the continuation. But Boiardo's work, though good in plan, could never have achieved wide popularity on account of the extreme ruggedness of its style.

Berni undertook the revision of the whole poem, avowedly altering no sentiment, removing or adding no incident, but simply giving to each line and stanza
In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. In modern poetry, the term is often equivalent with strophe; in popular vocal music, a stanza is typically referred to as a "verse"...

 due gracefulness and polish. His task he completed with marvellous success; scarcely a line remains as it was, and the general opinion has pronounced decisively in favour of the revision over the original. To each canto
The canto is a principal form of division in a long poem, especially the epic. The word comes from Italian, meaning "song" or singing. Famous examples of epic poetry which employ the canto division are Lord Byron's Don Juan, Valmiki's Ramayana , Dante's The Divine Comedy , and Ezra Pound's The...

he prefixed a few stanzas of reflective verse in the manner of Ariosto, and in one of these introductions he gives us the only certain information we have concerning his own life. Berni appears to have been favorably disposed towards the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 principles at that time introduced into Italy, and this may explain the bitterness of some remarks of his upon the church. The first edition of the Rifacimento was printed posthumously in 1541, and it has been supposed that a few passages either did not receive the author's final revision, or have been retouched by another hand.

The success of Berni's Rifacimento was so great that the original text by Boiardo fell into oblivion for three centuries. Only in the nineteenth century did Anthony Panizzi
Anthony Panizzi
Sir Antonio Genesio Maria Panizzi , better known as Anthony Panizzi, was a naturalized British librarian of Italian birth and an Italian patriot.-Early life in Italy:...

 discover in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 Library the authentic Orlando Innamorato and publish it.


  • A partial translation of Berni's Orlando was published by W.S. Rose
    William Stewart Rose
    William Stewart Rose was a British poet and translator, son of George Rose, who held various Government offices, including that of Treasurer of the Navy...

  • A street in Florence has been named after him (via Francesco Berni)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.