SIGISMONDO BOLDONI

Sigismondo Boldoni was born in Bellano on the 5th of July 1597 in a villa, now partially incorporated in the Cavallo Bianco, owned by the family which had been living in Milan for some years.

After completing his studies in that city, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Nicolò, renowned State archiater of Milan, he enrolled in the University of Padua, department of philosophy and medicine. In 1617 he published his first work entitled Il Larius, the Latin name for Lake Como.

Following a fight with two of his brothers in which one of them was wounded, he was forced to abandon the Duchy of Milan. He went to Pesaro, Urbino and to Rome, where, after joining the Academy of Humourists, he was able to present his orations.

In 1621 he was able to return home where he received a teaching commission at the University of Pavia. In the same year he published a short poem in Latin entitled “Apotheosis In morte Philippi III” (Apotheosis in death of Philip III) eulogizing the departed sovereign of Spain. In the following years he dedicated himself to teaching and the composition of some works including “La caduta dei Longobardi” (Fall of the Lombards) a poem completed after Sigismondo’s death by his brother Gio. His grandfather Nicolò, after the death of Sigismondo, and appreciated by Manzoni, often stayed at the villa in Bellano and particularly loved the gardens along the Pioverna looking out to the Orrido gorge.

In September 1629 he witnessed the passage of the Lansquenet foot soldiers. In mid-October, the plague, carried by the Lansquenet, spread through Bellano leading to the death of sixty people in less than three weeks. Boldoni took refuge in Pagnona.

In the winter of 1629 he returned to Pavia where he died on the 3rd of July 1630, having contracted the plague from his tailor. Between June and September more than half of the city’s population died of the plague.

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