Ser Petracco (1267–1326) was the father to Francesco Petrarch. His father was Ser Parenzo, son of Ser Garzo who lived to be 100. They all were notaries public, the same office that Ser Petracco held in Florence. The family did have a small property in Florence, however were of very little material goods and living basically on the edge of poverty. His wife's name was Eletta Canigiani (1270–1319), the mother to Petrarch, whom he married around 1302.
Ser Petracco was a merchant and also worked for the State. Before he was 35 years old he had already held many high public positions. He was "Chancellor of the Commission for the Reforms" as well as a delegate of an important embassy to Pisa in 1301. At the end of 1302 of his political career he was falsely charged of legal matters in his absence. The sentence was a fine of 1000 Lira or the loss of his right hand. He refused to pay the fine and his property was taken from him. He belonged to the bourgeois party of the White Guelphs along with the famous poet Dante, being its most illustrious member. They both were then exiled from Florence by the apposing party, the Black Guelphs.
Francesco Petrarch was an "Aretine" by these mere circumstances - as he always thought of himself really as a Florentine. The family, along with Dante and others that exiled to Arezzo, were not welcomed there. Ser Petracco had to seek employment elsewhere, however his wife and baby Francesco were permitted to go to their little family house they owned in Incisa with relatives.
A family story goes that Francesco was about seven months old when he and his mother moved back to Incisa. Baby Francesco was being transported in a sling arrangement carried over a servant's shoulder. The servant was mounted on a horse. When they crossed through the flooded Arno river the horse slipped and fell. Baby Francesco and the servant went headlong into the water. With much determination and inner strength the servant saved baby Francesco - nearly losing his life in the process! This shows how a single event in Destiny can ultimately have such a profound effect.
Ser Petracco periodically visited the family in Incisca from his out of town employment. In 1307 Francesco's brother Gherardo was born. About 1310 they were all reunited for a year in Pisa. Around 1311 Ser Petracco got employment in Avignon where the papal court had moved to from Rome. Then in 1312 the boys and his wife moved to Carpentras, where they lived happily for the next four years. Ser Petracco lived in Avignon most of this time because of his employment there in the profession of law. In 1316 he then sent Petrarch and his brother to study law at the University of Montpellier.