Giuseppe Ungaretti was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on February 8, 1888, of Italian immigrants originally from Lucca. He lost his father as a young child and his mother supported the family by running a bakery on the outskirts of the city close to the Sahara. The view of the desert, with its vast emptiness, would have a great impact on Ungaretti’s complex perception of history and humanity. As he would later note, commenting on his native city:
The imagery of desolation was obsessive within me from my very first poems. It was the desert that defined it in me: out of the desert were born, in my far-off infancy and youth, the notion and feeling of the infinite, of the primal, of the fall of all things into nothingness. …
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Coda, Elena. "Giuseppe Ungaretti". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 February 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=11845, accessed 25 June 2017.]