July 19, 1550 (aged 41–42)
Jacopo Bonfadio (c. 1508 – July 1550) was an Italian humanist and historian. Born in Garda he was educated at Verona and Padua. From 1532 he worked as the secretary of various members of the clergy in Rome and Naples, however in 1540 gained employment in Padua with the son of Cardinal-humanist Pietro Bembo. At this time he met and became friends with notable humanists of the time and was a contemporary of Annibal Caro. He also gained fame from his poetry, for which reputation he was invited to teach philosophy at the University of Genoa in 1544. While there he was commissioned to write a history of the Republic of Genoa since 1528. In 1541, he among others, coined the term una terza natura, meaning nature improved by art, and subsequently many designers so conceived it. Large scale views of the Medici villas, the grand vistas of Louis XIV, and the planning of 16th century and later English country houses show how this term was incorporated. His humanist views earned him some powerful enemies in Genoa. In 1550, after writing Annales Genuendis, ab anno 1528 recuperatae libertatis usque ad annum 1550 (his history of the Republic of Genoa from 1528 to 1550), his writing angered the powerful Genoese families the Dorias, the Adornos, the Spinolas and Fieschi, who sought revenge against Bonfadio for daring to record and judge their actions. They proceeded to accuse him of sodomy, for which he was arrested, tried and condemned to death. He was beheaded, and his body was burnt. The minutes of his trial were never found.
The Annales Genuendis have been translated into Italian by Paschetti, and a new Latin edition was published at Brescia in 1747. Scholars have had difficulty determining the exact date of his execution. Most official sources report it as having taken place in 1550, while others give the date as 1560 or some even as late as 1580, though that has been widely disregarded by later scholars.
- Official website commemorating 500 years since Bonfadio's birth
- Nature talking with nature; Charles Jencks; Architectural Review; January, 2004; accessed 2008-07-18
- Books Fatal to Their Authors; Peter Hampson Ditchfield; accessed 2008-07-18