Bob Cox writes "http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/04/06/10812 22466106.html
Of all the world's great writers, Francesco Petrarch is the best known for losing his head. On Good Friday in 1327, the then 23-year-old writer and scholar fell madly in love with a woman he saw in a church congregation.
His bad luck, to become enamoured of a woman who did not return his affections, was the rest of humanity's good fortune. For, in seeking to express his feelings for the woman he called Laura, Petrarch gave definitive form to the sonnet and established himself as the first modern, Western poet.
Now, it seems, he has lost his head a second time."