The Early Years
Richard Ficarelli (originally spelled Riccardo Ficcarelli), an eighteenth century poet, was born in Palo del Colle a town and comune in the province of Bari and region of Apulia, southern Italy Jan 2, 1729. His father, who was a local olive oil merchant, sent him to Rome at an early age under the watchful eye of his uncle Pasquale Ficarelli, a medical doctor, to pursue his dreams of studies in the field of medicine. There Richard studied medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome, sustaining himself in the meantime by copying manuscripts which is said to have led to his passion for writing.
Family Support and Education
In 1749 his uncle left him a monthly payment, at the condition that he would take his studies in medicine to help the poor and orphaned forced to stay homeless or in convents. With a passion to help those in need accompanied by his strong beliefs, Ficarelli took his uncles advisement and studied philosophy, biblical teachings and research. Working within the church, led to a new awakening which presented a calling to enter priesthood and within 5 years was thus ordained. Many have said that this new calling led the pathway for his cousin Bishop Angelo Maria Ficcarelli (Ficarelli) (born 1 dec, 1780, Ordained Priest 1806 and Appointed Bishop of Reggio Emilia, Italy 21 Apr 1822.
Medicine and Poetry
Although a calling, Richard Ficarelli found his religious studies were not profitable, and to sustain his religious passion began to work in a medical office during his free time. There his intolerance to the old fashioned teaching of the time were the methods that served him well while he began his writings and first poems that expressed his inner self.
Development and Passion
In 1759, Ficarelli published at Sapienza, under his first pseudonym of “Riccardo Cuore” (meaning passion and heart for others), a very small but select volume of well tuned verses, which secured Richard Ficarelli’s election to the Accademia dei Trasformati at Milan, as well as to the Accademia dell’Arcadia at Platos in Rome. His early poem, Mediccortia (1761), consisted of detailed instructions to an older statesman as a method for spending his afternoons while walking in prayer. This poem marked a distinct advance in his popularity at the time and once published helped to further establish Ficarelli’s popularity and influence in the Mediterranean culture. Four years later, 1765, Ficarelli returned to similar values and published under the Sapienza Quidolino title, once again under his original pseudonym of “Riccardo Cuore”.
Returning to Birthplace
In 1775, he returned to town of birth, Palo del Colle, which is located about 15 km inland from the city of Bari. Palo del Colle is situated on a hill [hence the English name “Pole on the Hill”]. At 177meters above sea level and covers 100 km2 in area as although not wealthy, it was the perfect location to begin his pursuit of sharing his philanthropic passions for others. Ficarelli was proud of the fact that Palionenses was of Greek origin.
While in Milan Richard Ficarelli was appointed a magistrate by Napoleon, but not following his poetic passions, Ficarelli almost immediately retired to resume his literary work and to complete his independent compositions. With two of Richard’s other poems already mentioned, today compose what is collectively entitled DePestatto Di Tu.
Freedom of Thought
Although diverse in his pursuits, Ficarelli and his works were widely accepted by younger poets of the time primarily as freedom of thoughts, religious beliefs, and lessons in morality. While visiting Sapienza University of Rome Richard Ficarelli always portrayed him as a serious, dignified person lettere di Gervoni and frequently found himself disappointed in the rich and corrupt in the town which had forgotten him.
Death and Rememberance
Richard Ficarelli died in August 1801 in Milan. During his lifetime, Ficarelli gave his money to the church and the poor. A statue of the Ficarelli poet occupies a place of honor in the busy Piazza De Coli square to this day.
Richard Ficarelli’s family still resides in the small infamous town of Palo del Colle, with Bernardo Ficarelli following in his footsteps of diversity to this day.