Poet, b. at Milan in 1775; d. there 5 January, 1821; educated by the Jesuits at Monza and in the seminary at Milan. Finding uncongenial the mercantile pursuits for which his family had destined him, he obtained posts in the treasury department first at Venice and later at Milan. He served under the government of the Cisalpine Republic and, without ceasing to be an Italian patriot, welcomed the return of the Austrian rule, since it seemed to promise peace and prosperity. At Milan he enjoyed the companionship of noted men of letters, among them Foscolo and Monti. His fame is based upon his felicitous use of the Milanese dialect for poetical purposes. He was a Romanticist and argued in favour of the doctrines of his friends Manzoni and Grossi in the cantica "El Romanticism", the "Dodges Sonitt al'abaa Giavan" (i.e. Giordani), the "Meneghin Classegh", and others. Some of his views are opposed to the French, who had brought so much misery into Italy. He is most successful in humorous compositions, in which he truly delineates Milanese types, especially in "Le desgrazi de Giovannin Bongee" and "Le olter desgrazi de Giovannin Bongee". In his use of dialect Porta evinces the greatest skill; his language is the language of the people adapted in a most masterly way to the purposes of literary expression.
Barriera, Poesie edite, inedite e rare, scelte e illustrate (Florence, 1887); Poesie rivedute sugli originali (Milan, 1887, with a bibliography by Robecchi); Lettembrini, Il Meli, il Cardone il Porta in Morandi, Antologia; D'Ovidio and Sailer, Porta e il Manzoni in Discussioni Manzoniane (Citta di Castello, 1886).