THE FIRST MODERN MAN APPRECIATED NATURE

Petrarca, a prolific writer and poet, has been called the first modern man – and also the first tourist (aside from “the father of humanism”; folks, we landed in the right circles here!) In 1336 he climbed Mont Ventoux, 1 912 m a s l, for recreation! Nature to him was not an obstacle or a resource to be exploited, but something to be enjoyed. However, the experience seems to have inspired him to seek deeper into his own soul, not into the essence of Nature.

A competitor for the title is Michel de Montaigne, active 200 years later in the Bordeaux area in southern France. He is famous for a collection of short pieces, Essaies, where he really tells about himself, his thoughts and feelings, without mentioning Nature. But I think we have a right to assume that he was inspired and encouraged by it – he spent much of his time retired to his family estate, with apparently daily excursions on horseback (until he fell off one day, but that is another story).

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