Rome vs. Avignon (Or, “Avignon Sucks!”)

Petrarch, Against a Man Who Slandered Italy (6):

In order to finally put an end to these prefatory remarks, that advocate for France has, in the mode more of a preacher than a letter writer, taken up this piece of the Gospel as the foundation of his argument: “A certain person was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,” and so on. Alas, what is this that I hear? Especially as it comes from the mouth of a literate person? By the faith of Heaven, what an inept and ugly beginning to his little tale! Has this arrived then to such a state of wretched madness that when a Christian, especially the pope, leaves Avignon to go to Rome, he is said to go down from Jerusalem to Jericho? Is it not better to say that he comes from the deepest sewer of all vice, indeed even from the Hell of the living, and goes up to Jerusalem? The matter has fallen so far that Avignon, that massive disgrace and most extreme rotting stench of all the world should be called Jerusalem, while Rome, the capital of the world, the queen of cities, the seat of empire, the citadel of Catholic faith, the fount of all memorable examples, should be called Jericho?

Giorgio Vasari, Return of Pope Gregory XI to Rome from Avignon

Ut vero iantandem his preludiis modus sit, prolocutor iste, non scribentis epystolam sed sermocinantis in morem, pro fundamento sui sermonis evangelicum illud assumit: “Homo quidam descendebat a Ierusalem in Ierico” et reliqua. Ei michi, quid est quod ego audio, ex ore presertim literati hominis? Pro superum fidem, o ineptum ac turpe principium fabelle! Eo ne igitur miseriarum ac vesanie ventum est, ut quicunque cristicola, maximeque Pontifex Romanus, Avinione digrediens Romam petat, a Ierusalem descendere dicatur in Ierico, et non potius e sentina profundissima vitiorum omnium, imo quidem ex inferno illo viventium, in Ierusalem dicatur ascendere? Huccine igitur res prolapsa est, ut Avinio, probrum ingens fetorque ultimus orbis terre, Ierusalem dicatur, Roma vero, mundi caput, urbium regina, sedes imperii, arx fidei catholice, fons omnium memorabilium exemplorum, Ierico nuncupetur?

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