Nicola Villani

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Nicola Villani
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Pistoia, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Died2 October 1636(1636-10-02) (aged 45–46)
Rome, Papal States
  • Poet
  • Literary critic
  • Writer
Parent(s)Ottavio Villani and Giulia Villani (née Baldovini)
Writing career
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  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Greek
Literary movement
  • Baroque
  • Classicism
Notable worksRagionamento sopra la poesia giocosa de’ Greci, de’ Latini e de’ Toscani
Della Fiorenza difesa

Nicola (or Niccolò) Villani (1590 – 2 October 1636) was an Italian literary critic and Baroque poet.


Nicola Villani was born in Pistoia in 1590, of a noble family. The famous Medieval chronicler Giovanni Villani was among his ancestors.[1] He studied in Florence, Siena and Pisa, then entered the service of Cardinal Tiberio Muti in Rome.[2] He became a member of the Accademia degli Umoristi under the pseudonym Aldeano.[1] After a journey to Greece, he took up residence in Venice. Around 1630 he returned to Rome, where he died in 1636.[2]


Nicola Villani is best known for his part in the polemics over Giambattista Marino's Adone; his contributions (1630 and 1631) were published under the pseudonyms of Vincenzo Foresi and Messer Fagiano, and argued against Tommaso Stigliani in favour of Marino.[3] As a critic he sets Homer and Virgil above all the moderns, though he ranks Marino above Dante and Petrarch. He began an epic poem, Fiorenza difesa (Florence Defended), a regular, neoclassic epic inspired by Trissino and Chiabrera, left incomplete at his death.[1] The unfinished poem was published posthumously in 1641. In 1634 Villani published the Ragionamento sopra la poesia giocosa de’ Greci, de’ Latini e de’ Toscani, a detailed study on the comic poetry of the ancients. Villani was one of the foremost Dante scholars of his generation.[4] He was a successful writer of Latin satires and Italian facetious compositions, highly appreciated during the 17th and 18th centuries.[2]

List of works

  • De laudibus Gregorii XV Pont. ter Max. Carmen. Viterbii: apud eundem. 1621.
  • Ad Nicolaum Ludovisium, Venusii principem, Isabellae Gesualdae sponsae epistola. Romae: apud Alexandrum Zannettum. 1622.
  • Poesie sopra Venetia. In Venetia: appresso Antonio Pinelli. 1628.
  • Ad Bonam Frugem, poematium ad Dominicum Molinum. Venetiis: apud Antonium Pinellum. 1629.
  • L'Uccellatura di Vincenzo Foresi all'Occhiale del Cav. Fra Tomaso Stigliani contro l'Adone del Cav. Battista Marini, e alla Difesa di Girolamo Aleandro. In Venetia: presso Antonio Pinelli. 1630.
  • Considerationi di Messer Fagiano sopra la seconda parte dell'Occhiale del Cav. Stigliano contro allo Adone del Cav. Marino; e sopra la Seconda Difesa di Girolamo Aleandro. In Venetia: presso Gio. Pietro Pinelli. 1631.
  • Canzone alla Santita di N. S. Urbano VIII. Venetia: presso Gio. Pietro Pinelli. 1632.
  • Ragionamento dello Academico Aldeano sopra la poesia giocosa de' Greci, de' Latini, e de' Toscani [Argument of the Academician Aldeano on the Playful Poetry of the Greeks, the Latins, and the Tuscans]. In Venetia: appresso Gio. Pietro Pinelli. 1634.
  • Della Fiorenza difesa poema eroico, canti dieci. In Roma: appresso Antonio Landini. 1641.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Leone 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 .
  3. Diffley 2002.
  4. Accame Bobbio 1970.

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