Guided tour – Visit and discover Lord Byron, Parisina and the cell of The Lament of Tasso in Ferrara
3 hrs (HD) / 4.5-5 (FD) hrs (including Castello Estense)
The visit includes sites and places of medieval as well as Renaissance Ferrara related with Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Niccolò III d’Este, Parisina Malatesta, Ugo Aldobrandino d’Este, Lucrezia Borgia: the cell of Tasso, Piazza Ariostea, Castello Estense
Ferrara – Guided Byron Tour – HD / FD – Rates 2018
Groups: up to 30 people – €150 / €250
Ferrara – The Cell of Tasso – Epitaph
“Long years!—It tries the thrilling frame to bear
And eagle-spirit of a Child of Song—
Long years of outrage—calumny—and wrong;
Imputed madness, prisoned solitude,
And the Mind’s canker in its savage mood,
When the impatient thirst of light and air
Parches the heart;” (The Lament of Tasso)
Ferrara – Lucrezia Borgia
In 1501 Lucrezia Borgia got married to Alfonso d’Este. Lucrezia Borgia had roused Byron’s “psychological curiosity by having been the Pope’s daughter and the mistress of cardinals.” (from Teresa Guiccioli My recollections of lord Byron; and those of eye-witnesses of his life, 1869 translation from Lord Byron jugé par les témoins de sa vie, 1859 )
Lord George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (London 22 January 1788 – Missolonghi, Greece 19 April 1824)
Nobleman, poet, peer, politician, and leading figure in the Romantic movement, Lord Byron is the most famous English poet of the early 19th c.
Byron was 1.74 m tall, 60-89 kg of weight.
“Far from being ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, or even just a famous lover and daring challenger of political, social and sexual norms, Byron was a superlative poet; a highly intelligent, astute and humorous commentator on all aspects of life; a hero to the Greeks, whose national independence he helped to win, and an intriguing individual whose poetry and outspoken letters reveal a personality that is extraordinarily current and relevant to today” (cit. www.thebyronsociety.com).
He travelled extensively in Europe (summer 1809-1811), returned to England (July 1811 – 1816) before leaving the country once again in April 1816, never to return. He spend seven years in Italy – where he lived in the cities of Venice, Ravenna, and Pisa – and finally moved to Greece.
Byron in Italy
In October 1816 Byron arrived in Milan and a month later he moved to Venice, where he remained for three years. In Milan, Byron met Silvio Pellico, Vincenzo Monti and Stendhal. Byron visited the Ambrosian Library, in which he admired the beauty of Lucrezia Borgia‘s tresses. He admitted “I took one single hair as a relic”.
In November 1816 Byron reached Venice. There he dwelled for three years, and learned Italian, Venitian and Armenian.
In April and May 1817 he spent some time in Rome and visited Ferrara (19 April). In Ferrara Byron visited the cell where the 16th c. poet Torquato Tasso accused of madness had been imprisoned from 1579 to 1586. At that time Byron had already published the narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812), Parisina (1815). After the stay in Ferrara he published The Lament of Tasso (1817).
In 1819 in Venice he met Countess Teresa Gamba (Ravenna 1799/1800 – Florence 27 March 1873), at that time married to Alessandro Guiccioli, and they became lovers.
In January 1820 Byron moved to Ravenna as Teresa’s cavalier servente (gentleman-in-waiting). He became friend with Teresa’s father and brother, who initiated him to the secret society of the Carbonari and its revolutionary aims to free Italy from Austrian rule.
In November 1821, after the unsuccessful insurrectional motes, he arrived in Pisa.
In early summer 1822 he went to Leghorn (Livorno), and then back to Pisa. In September he moved to Genoa, where the Gamba family had found asylum.
On 23 July 1823, Byron left Italy from Pisa and reached Cephalonia in August.
In January 1824 Byron moved to Missolonghi. The last letter written to his lover Teresa dates 17 March 1824.
On 19 April 1824 Byron died. The manuscripts remained at Teresa are now at the Pierpont Morgan Library NY.
“Child Harold’s Pilgrimage” – Autobiographical narrative Poem written in four cantos (1812-1818)
First published in 1812
Is a sort of poetic guide of the places had visited between 1809 and 1811 on the Grand Tour, among them Lisbon, Seville, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Gibraltar, Malta, Athens, Smyrna, Constantinople (1810), Troy, Ioánnina, Tepelene (Albania). He had also swam the Hellespont.
“Parisina” – Poem
Probably written between 1812 and 1815, it was published on 13 February 1816. It is based on a story related by Edward Gibbon in his Miscellaneous Works.
Parisina – Parisina (Laura) Malatesta, 1404 – Ferrara 21 May 1425. Daugther of Andrea Malatesta, lord of Cesena, and Lucrezia Ordelaffi. Married to Niccolò III d’Este in Ravenna in 1418. They had three children, Ginevra, Lucia, and Alberto Carlo. She resided in the tower of Rigobello in rooms under the library and reorganized her new home. She also lived at the Delizia di Consandolo, built by Niccolò III. She had an affair with her bastard stepson Ugo d’Este, and both were beheaded by her husband.
Prince Azo – Nicolò III d’Este, 1383 – 1441. Marquis of Ferrara.
Hugo – Ugo Aldobrandino d’Este, 1405 – Ferrara 21 May 1425. Son of Niccolò III d’Este and Stella dei Tolemei.
“The Lament of Tasso”
First published in 1817
Leonora – Eleonora d’Este, 1537-1581. Sister of Alfonso II. Became a nun of the Corpus Domini convent in Ferrara.
Alfonso II d’Este, 1533-1597. Duke of Ferrara
Tasso – Torquato Tasso (Sorrento 11 March 1544 – Rom 25 April 1595)
One of the major 16th c. Italian poets as well as the author of the poem Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) 1581, imprisoned in the St. Anna mental Hospital in Ferrara from March 1579 to July 1586. Byron writes about in The Lament of Tasso as well as in the Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:
Canto 4 – III – “In Venice, Tasso’s echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier;”
The Byron Society
First founded in the 19th c., the Society was re-founded on 22 January 1971. Today, there are 36 Byron Societies worldwide. Since 1973 the Byron Journal is published twice a year. The Yearly International Conference – first hold in 1974 – takes place every year in a different country, such as Greece, the USA, Japan, France, Canada, Malta and Italy. The 2018 Conference has taken place in Ravenna (Italy).
Music inspired by Byron’s work
- Hector Berlioz – Harold en Italie, 1834, symphony
- Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky – Manfred, 1885, symphony
- Giuseppe Verdi – I due Foscari, 1844, opera
Discover the world of Byron’s Parisina and The Lament of Tasso with a guided tour in Ferrara
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