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France and Italy have shared more than just a border since at least the 14th century. Francis Petrarch, one of the three fathers of the Italian language, spent most of his formative years in Avignon and Southern France before returning to his native Tuscany. Two centuries later, Michel de Montaigne, born in the Aquitaine region of France, reversed the order, seeking medical and spiritual treatment for a series of personal and physiological ailments in Lucca before his reentry
to France. Each recorded his experiences in the other’s land in epistles and journals still read today. They were only among the first figures reciprocally to appreciate and grow from the riches of each other’s lands. The French Connection seeks to examine the relationship between France and Italy through an examination of the literary works of authors who have passed through or from one country to the next, absorbing and representing important parts of each. It also seeks to study the history and evolution of language and dialect in Italy and Southern France as a direct result of their interaction with each other.