Alessandro Tassoni

(28 September 1565 – 25 April 1635 / Modena)

Biography of Alessandro Tassoni

Alessandro Tassoni (28 September 1565 – 25 April 1635) was an Italian poet and writer.

He was born in Modena, to a noble family, from Bernardino Tassoni and Sigismonda Pellicciari. Having lost both parents at an early age, he was raised by the maternal grandfather, Giovanni Pellicciari. It was with Giovanni that, according to tradition, he first visited the bucket, which was later to inspire his major work, in the belfry of Modena's Cathedral.

At the age of 13, Alessandro Tassoni was taught Greek and Latin by Lazzaro Labadini, a learned, distinguished and worthy man.

He then became a law student, attending university in Modena, then in Bologna, Pisa and Ferrara, where he eventually graduated.He appears to have been a rowdy youth, living for some time in Nonantola, from where he was expelled in 1595, due to several incidents in which Tassoni had been involved as a member of a local street gang.

In 1597, he began his service for the cardinal Ascanio Colonna whom he followed to Spain. In 1589 he was elected to the Accademia della Crusca. In 1603, he was back in Italy and moved to Rome.

In 1612 he published anonymously the booklet Le Filippiche in which he attacked the Spanish domination of Italy. Though he always denied having written it (probably for fear of Spanish retaliation), the work became famous enough to ingratiate Tassoni to the Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, who, in 1618 hired him in Turin with the title of first secretary.

After this, Tassoni was with the cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in 1626 and served under Francesco I d'Este, duke of Modena, in 1635.

He died in Modena. His fellow citizens remembered his life and work with a statue that can still be seen in front of the town symbol, the Ghirlandina.

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