Antonio Fogazzaro was an Italian writer and poet. He was appointed senator of the Kingdom of Italy in 1896. From 1901 to 1911 he was several times among the candidates for the Nobel Prize for literature, which however did not win.
Born in Vicenza, in the house at number 111 of the current Corso Fogazzaro, from Mariano, textile industry, and Teresa Barrera, in a wealthy family of Catholic traditions: the paternal uncle Joseph was a priest and a sister of his father, Maria Innocente , was a nun in the convent of Alzano, near Bergamo.
In May 1848, in the days of the first war of independence, his mother took him with his younger sister Ina to Rovigo: Vicenza emerged and prepared his defense against the reaction of the Imperial Royal Austro-Hungarian army. Father Mariano and uncle Don Giuseppe take part in the city's preparations, but everything will be in vain and on 10 June Radetzky's army enters Vicenza.
He concluded his elementary studies in 1850: he then wrote that he had "never studied with great zeal what I had to study, even as a boy I read with greed all sorts of delightful books; for the real study I had no enthusiasm. Then I read very badly, in a hurry, in disorderly [...] My favorite book was the Mémoires d'Outre-tombe of Chateaubriand. I was crazy about the author; I fell in love with Lucile of Chateaubriand fantastically, as I later fell in love with Diana Vernon, a heroine of Walter Scott. "
In 1856 he began attending high school; among his professors is the poet Giacomo Zanella: "It was he who made me fall in love with Heinrich Heine. I did not see, I no longer dreamed of Heine. " No friends are created among his classmates: "I passed by aristocrat, reputation that I then had more or less everywhere for my cold exterior, reserved and above all for my hatred of triviality" and is a shy and romantic teenager: « My love fantasies were always as fervent as aerial: I imagined I had an ideal lover, a superhuman being as Chateaubriand describes her sylph. With the ladies I was embarrassed, shy, awkward ".
After high school in 1858, his interests would push him to study literature but find the opposition of his father, who does not find in him literary skills and intends to become a lawyer. Admitted to the University of Padua, between some long illnesses and the closing of the University authority in 1859 due to student protests against the Austrian regime, Antonio lost two years of studies. In November 1860 the Fogazzaro family moved to Turin and Antonio is enrolled in the Faculty of Law of the Savoy University. He studies little and unwillingly, frequents coffee more often, playing billiards, than the classrooms of the University and also loses the Catholic faith; he then wrote that he had then tried "a certain satisfaction as if he had broken a heavy chain; but I also felt a distant doubt of wandering. I felt it especially the first Easter that I passed without the Sacraments. I know I have spent hours of great internal agitation, walking through the desert garden of Valentino. "
He continued to write poetry and the Universo newspaper published some of them in 1863: they recall Campana del Mezzogiorno, Nuvola, Ricordanza del Lago di Como; he graduated in 1864 with modest grades. In November of the following year the family moved to Milan and Antonio held his apprenticeship at a law firm.
Fogazzaro knew from his childhood the Vicenza family of the Counts Valmarana; he saw the young Margherita in particular already in Turin in 1862 and then during the holidays of the following years, until the Valmarana family visited the Fogazzaro family in Milan in 1866, in what was to be the preparation for an engagement request, which took place a few months later. . The two young men were married in Vicenza on July 31, 1866, a few weeks after the Veneto, following the third war of independence, had become part of the Kingdom of Italy.
His work as collaborator of a law firm does not allow him to maintain himself and his wife without the financial help of his family of origin. In Milan he met Abbondio Chialiva, an old Carbonaro who introduced him into the literary environment of the scapigliati, writers who, like Emilio Praga, the brothers Arrigo and Camillo Boito, Iginio Ugo Tarchetti, were looking for new ways of art, aware of Italian literary provincialism. , referring to the German and French romantic traditions. It binds in particular with Arrigo Boito but will never be part of that current that, however confused and unrealistic, seemed too rebellious in its eyes of conservative and intimately conformist bourgeois.
In 1868 he passed the qualifying exams for the profession of lawyer; he wrote to Uncle Giuseppe on May 21st: "Here I am a lawyer; good deal for my future customers! Meanwhile, I put the Civil Code in readiness, I send the Licensed Procedure and condemn the Criminal Code to imprisonment. " In fact, he thinks of devoting himself still to poetry; in 1869 Gina, the first daughter, was born, and in the meantime she started working on a novel and a poem in verse.
The last months of his life were marked by disappointment and a sense of having made his own time. He was very ill and at the end of February he was admitted to the Hospital of Vicenza: operated on March 4, 1911, he got worse rapidly; on 7 March he received the anointing of the sick: "... with the lips already white with death, the agonizing replied with the last breath of voice to the prayers of the Church: amen. And those close to him understood that he had fallen asleep in lumine Vitae. "