2021: XXIII

Silvia, Nerina e la capinera

Cecilia Gibellini
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

Pubblicato 2022-01-25

Parole chiave

  • Giacomo Leopardi,
  • Canti,
  • A Silvia,
  • Le ricordanze,
  • ornithology


The onomastic source of Silvia and Nerina, two young women who died young but live on in two of Leopardi’s Canti, has been unanimously identified by scholars in Torquato Tasso’s Aminta. Without denying this hypothesis, my paper examines the rich tradition that the two names boast in classical and humanistic poetry both in Latin and in the vernacular, especially in the pastoral genre. However, I suggest that, along with literary texts, Leopardi consulted ornithological treatises and derived from them a number of onomastic suggestions, as well as several features that the two women – like the poet as he portrays himself in Il passero solitario – share with the birds to whom he dedicated a warm Elogio in the Operette morali and many notes in the Zibaldone.