150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF GIUSEPPE GIOACHINO BELLI

150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF GIUSEPPE GIOACHINO BELLI  

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli was born in Rome on 7 September
1791. He was a very gifted writer, even at a young age. He started
with the publication of his essays. Later, when he drew closer to
Roman academic circles, he wrote in verse. His marriage to a
wealthy widow allowed him to cultivate his literary passion and to
travel throughout Italy. In Milan he came into contact with the work
of poet Carlo Porta. He saw how comic poetry expressed in dialect
could offer a way to represent people of society with a dignity equal
to that of other literary genres. Belli began describing the vices and
virtues of his own people, the Romans, with biting satire choosing
the sonnet as his metric form. He composed over two thousand
sonnets: “...I decided to leave a monument to those who today are
the people of Rome... their language, character, habits, customs,
practices, beliefs, prejudices, superstitions, in other words, all that
is about them”. Belli died on 21 December 1863, but not before
having renounced his entire literary work, even asking that to be
destroyed. His heirs never carried out his wish and left his rich
artistic patrimony in his memory and that of his fellow citizens. As
a homage to the Roman poet, the postal mini-sheet with six values
reproduces his sonnet “er giorno der giudizzio” (On judgement
day).