Vittore Branca

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Vittore Branca
Vittore Branca.jpg
Born(1913-07-09)July 9, 1913
DiedMay 28, 2004(2004-05-28) (aged 90)

Vittore Branca (Savona, July 9, 1913 - Venice, May 28, 2004) was a philologist, literary critic and Italian academic. Branca was a professor emeritus of Italian literature at the University of Padua until his death in 2004, as well as one of the most acclaimed contemporary scholars of Boccaccio.

He was a man with strong religious roots during the Second World War who participated in the partisan struggle.


Vittore Branca was born in Savona in 1913 but spent much of his childhood on Lake Como.[1]

After graduating from the classical high school "Gabriello Chiabrera" in Savona, in 1931 he attended the entrance examination at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. In those years it became part of the FUCI. As a sign of protest, young Branca appeared before the examination committee wearing the badge of Catholic Action, whose youth circles were suppressed by the fascist regime. On this occasion he has his first encounter with John Gentile, who became his master. He graduated in 1935 with the highest grades.[2]

Two years later, he was in Florence to collaborate with the Accademia della Crusca at the national edition of Boccaccio's works. He began to teach in high schools.

In July 1943 he took part in the work that led to the drafting of the Code of Camaldoli. After the arrest of Mussolini (executed two days after completing the Code), Branca actively collaborated with Resistance. His cordial relations with Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini and by mediation of these with Alcide De Gasperi made him a prominent member of Florentine anti-fascism, enabling him to represent the Catholic area of resistance in the direction Tuscan CNL. In 1944 he was contacted by Gentile, then president of the Academy of Italy, who invited him to collaborate "for homeland charity" in the New Anthology magazine. Branca, in spite of the profound connection with the philosopher, refused the offer, deciding to continue the struggle against Nazi-fascism.[3] Gentile was killed by some partisans in April of the same year. In August, Branca participated in the dramatic events of the Florence uprising, which led to the liberation of the city.[4]

During the years of the formation of the Republic, De Gasperi proposed him as deputy secretary of the Christian Democracy. Branca declined the invitation to actively engage in academic studies and career.[5]

Between 1944 and 1949 he taught at the University of Florence and the faculty of Magisterium "Maria Assunta" in Rome. In 1949 he founded the magazine Italian Letters together with Giovanni Getto. From 1952 to 1953 he was in Paris, as a visiting professor at the Sorbonne University. In 1953 he began his career at the University of Padua, to which he would remain bound throughout his life. In the same year he joined the Board of Directors of the Giorgio Cini Foundation, from Venice, from 1972 to 1995 he was vice president and then became president from 1995 to 1996.

Between 1968 and 1972 he was rector of the University of Bergamo. In 1968 he chaired an authoritative committee to establish the "Institute of Foreign Language and Literature" at the university.[6] Until 1970, he collaborated on several occasions with UNESCO.

He died in Venice on May 28, 2004 at the age of 91. In Padua he was dedicated to the "circulating library" and the adjoining hall-studio of via Portello. He left his library as a special fund at the Library of the Normal Superiore School.

Education and academic activities[edit]

Branca's contributions to Boccaccio's research were fundamental. In 1962 he identified Hamilton 90 as a precious autograph of Decameron, written by Boccaccio around 1370. In 1998, he discovered a manuscript made under Boccaccio's personal supervision, also of the Decameron, conceived in the mid-fifties of the 1300s and formally drawn up in 1360.[7][8][9][10]

Branca's studies have also influenced the philological field. The definitions of tradition characterized (that is, the study of an end-manuscript tradition in itself) and of a characterizing tradition (the ways and the reasons for which that tradition was created, from a point of view visual and musical arts).


Criticism and literary history[edit]

  • The Singing of the Twentieth Century (Florence, 1936)
  • History of Criticism at Decameron (Rome, 1939)
  • Notes on Religious Literature of the Threeteenth Century (Florence, 1939)
  • Notes for a Manzoni soul story , in Convivium , XIII, (1941)
  • Mistics of the 13th and 13th centuries (Rome, 1942)
  • Emilio De Marchi and meditative realism (Brescia, 1946)
  • Alfieri and the pursuit of style (Florence, 1947)
  • History of the Collections of Rhyme and Classical Collections , in Orientations and Problems of Italian Literature (Milan, 1948)
  • The canticle of Frate Sole (Florence, 1950)
  • Medieval Boccaccio (Florence, 1956)
  • Tradition of the works of Giovanni Boccaccio (Rome, 1958)
  • Literary Civilization of Italy (Florence, 1962)
  • The Unfinished Second Centurion by Angelo Poliziano (Florence, 1962)
  • European humanism and Venetian humanism, own essays and essays collected by Vittore Branca (Florence, 1964)
  • Poetics of renewal and hagiographic tradition in Vita Nuova, in "Miscellanea Italo Siciliano" (Florence, 1966)
  • European Renaissance and Venetian Renaissance (Florence, 1967)
  • Fulvio Texts in the Court of Urban VIII and Felipe IV , in Revista de Occidente (Madrid, 1969)
  • The new methods of criticism (Rome, 1970)
  • Sebastiano Ciampi (Warsaw, 1970)
  • Manzonian occasions (Venice, 1973)
  • Concept, History, Myths and Images of the Middle Ages (Florence, 1973)
  • Philology, Criticism, History , in collaboration with Jean Starobinski (Milan, 1978)
  • Alfieri and the pursuit of style with five new essays (Bologna, 1979)
  • Venetian Humanism , in History of Venetian Culture, vol. 3 (Vicenza, 1980)
  • Medieval boccaccio and new studies on Decameron , Sansoni editore, Florence, 1981
  • Politician and Humanism of the Word (Turin, 1983)
  • Boccaccio displayed (Florence, 1985)
  • Merchants and Writers (Milan, 1986)
  • the Tuscan Esophagus (Venice, 1989)
  • the Aesop veneto (Padova, 1992)
  • Giovanni Boccaccio. Biographical profile (Florence, 1997)


  • A Dream (Florence, 1983)
  • Ponte Santa Trinita (Venice, 1988)


  • Gold medal of the CNL of Tuscany
  • Gold Medal of the Benemerites of Culture
  • Knight of the Order of the Order of the Italian Republic
  • Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
  • Commissar of the Order of Poland "restored"
  • Gold medal for culture
  • Commissar of the OS of Malta
  • Honorary Citizen of Florence ( 2002 )
  • Venetian Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts, of which he was president from 1979 to 1985

He also received honorary degrees from the following Universities:

  • Budapest (1967)
  • New York (1973)
  • Bergamo (1973)
  • Sorbonne of Paris (1976)
  • McGill of Montreal (1985)
  • Köln (1998)


  1. ^ "Manlio Pastore Stocchi, Remembrance of Vittore Branca , commemoration pronounced on 27 November 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007.
  2. ^ "Archivio Corriere della Sera". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  3. ^ "Archivio Corriere della Sera". (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  4. ^ "Vittore Branca e la resistenza". Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  5. ^ "The Hon. Cesare Campa". Archived from the original on 2005-01-15.
  6. ^ "UniBg - Pagina non trovata : Pagina non trovata". Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  7. ^ "I due Decameron di Giovanni Boccaccio", by "La Repubblica", January 10, 1998".
  8. ^ "Il primo Decameron", by "Il Manifesto", January 10, 1998". Archived from the original on 2001-07-07.
  9. ^ "The Two Decamerons by Giovanni Boccaccio", by "La Repubblica", January 10, 1998". Archived from the original on 2001-07-07.
  10. ^ "The First Decameron," "The Manifesto", January 10, 1998". Archived from the original on 2001-07-07.


  • Giorgio Padoan, "Vittore Branca", in AA.VV., Italian Literature. The critics , vol. V, Milan, Marzorati, 1987, pp. 3851-3861.