Although Coleridge's mind is commonly regarded as 'German' he had a lifelong interest in Italian culture. His knowledge was vast and focused on several areas: lyric poetry, the fine arts, Dante and epic poetry from Boccaccio to Tasso, philosophy and Latin writing. The importance of Coleridge's interest in Italy has so far been ignored by researchers.Coleridge was involved in Italian culture in ways which many of his contemporaries ignored.
Eduardo Zuccato explores the common categorisation of the elder Romantics as 'German' and the younger as 'Italian' and shows how Italian Renaissance poets and painters helped develop Coleridge's theory of imagination. Coleridge's reading of Italian lyric poetry ranged from Dante to Metastasio, but the most significant experience for him was Petrarch who influenced his love poetry after 1804 and led him to reconsider classicist poetics. The fine arts were involved in the process, and, even if his artistic opinions were conservative, painting was the only other art beside poetry to which he applied his critical theory.