Niccolò Ugo Foscolo was born to parents of mixed heritage; his mother, Diamantina Spaty, was Greek, while his father, Andrea Foscolo, was Venetian. When Foscolo was ten years old, his father died. He and his mother then moved to Venice, where he stayed until 1797, during which time he began to attend political and literary gatherings such as those of the Countess Isabella Teotochi. In this period, he developed an admiration for the revolutionary doctrines of Jean- Jacques Rousseau, Vittorio Alfieri, and Robespierre while attending classes taught by Melchiorre Cesarotti at Padua University.
In 1797, because of his political ideas, Foscolo was forced to flee to Bologna, where he received the nomination of honorary lieutenant for the French army in Italy. He performed this role as a strict republican until the infamous Treaty of Campoformio, which caused Foscolo to hate Bonaparte so much that he moved to Milan, where he lived from 1797 to 1815. In Milan, Foscolo made the acquaintance of Vincenzo Monti and Giuseppe Parini, and he also pursued love affairs with Teresa Pickler, Isabella Roncioni, and the Countess Antonietta Fagnani Arese.
When, in 1798, the second coalition of the Austrians and Russians reconquered northern Italy from Napoleon (who was at that time in Egypt), Foscolo fought against this action under General Jean-Étienne Championnet, but his open aspiration for Italian independence provoked great hostility from the French....
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