This year we celebrate Dante Alighieri 700th anniversary , the Supreme Poet. On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, we try to summarize his life, his works, some curiosities and all the activities that will be organized for this very important anniversary.
Dante, perhaps the greatest poet of all time, and perhaps of the whole world, will not be able to understand how difficult is this task that we have set ourselves today to celebrate it! On the other hand, he only wrote The Divine Comedy!
We humbly try, with the head sprinkled with ashes (which is also a bit Goth and this fits).
Dante Alighieri’s life is undoubtedly linked to Florentine political events. When he was born, Florence was about to become the most powerful city in central Italy. In 1250 a municipal government made up of the bourgeoisie and artisans had put an end to the primacy of the noble families. Two years later the first gold florins were minted in Florence, which became the dollars of mercantile Europe. The conflicts between the Guelphs, promoters of the temporal authority of the popes, and Ghibellines, defenders of the political primacy of the emperors, increasingly turned to confrontation between the nobles and the bourgeoisie and to wars of preponderance between neighboring or rival cities.
When Dante was born, the city had been in the hands of the Ghibellines for five years, who had expelled the Guelphs. In 1266 Florence returned to the latter and the Ghibellines were in turn expelled, losing the game forever. The Guelphs would soon split between blacks and whites.
Super-short biography of Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri was born on May 29, 1265 in Florence in a family of low nobility and in 1274, according to his work Vita Nova, he saw Beatrice Portinari for the first time and fell in love with her. He was about ten years old when his mother, Gabriella, died. He then became head of the family at the age of 17 when his father Alighiero also died.
At the age of 20 Dante married Gemma Di Manetto Donati, from a modest branch of great lineage, from whom he had four children.
Dante very early devoted himself to poetry while studying philosophy and theology. He will be obsessed with the internal struggles of his time, mentioned in the premise.
In 1301, Dante was convicted with the false accusation of fraud, expelled and sentenced to heavy fines. Since he did not deign, like his friends, to appear before the judges, he was sentenced to the confiscation of his assets and even to the stake if he was captured in the territory of the municipality of Florence. So he was forced to leave the city, a story similar to Casanova‘s !
From 1304 Dante will begin a long exile through Italy where he was very well received everywhere. Two years later he began writing The Divine Comedy, which he would work on throughout his life, indelibly shaping the Italian language. He became aware of his loneliness and detached himself from the contemporary reality that he considered dominated by vice and inequality.
In 1319 Dante was invited to Ravenna by Guido Novello da Polenta, lord of that city, who sent him in 1321 as ambassador to Venice. Dante, returning from this embassy mission, was struck by an attack of malaria and died in Ravenna, at the age of 56, the night between the 13th and the 14th of September 1321.
Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy
It is not possible to talk about Dante without dedicating a paragraph to the work that made him famous among his contemporaries and immortal for future generations: The Divine Comedy.
Dante, through a complex mechanism of songs and canticles, tells us about his otherworldly journey from Hell to Heaven. A true cosmic mental trip that reminds us of Melies’ A Trip to the Moon!
But since we are talking about celebrations we want to remind you about the impact this work has had on art over the centuries.
And since the impact of the Divine Comedy includes pages and pages, we will tell you some of the best bits!
The Divine Comedy in popular colture
It should be noted that DivineComedy.digital was born this year, a multimedia and interactive project that catalogs for the first time the figurative heritage linked to the Divine Comedy.
Let’s skip the whole literary part, there is no writer who hasn’t mentioned the work or its creator in some way. Even Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (1991) begins with the words “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”. Which is the same, very famous phrase that some joker had written in front of our high school!
Above the door of The Daily Show studio is a sign that reads “Abandon all news, ye who enter here”, an obvious reference to the inscription similar to the one on the gates of hell.
As for the films, the Divine Comedy was also mentioned in the Ghostbuster movie, just to make it clear how popular it is.
For music, I will be biased, quoting the video of the song of the Depeche Mode “Walking In My Shoes” (1993), directed by Anton Corbijn, who was inspired by the Comedy.
And then again we find radio programs, manga, computer games (even Guitar Hero) and graphic novels. The comic series The Sandman by Neil Gaiman presents a hell strongly inspired by Dante, including the Wood of the Suicides, the Malebolge and the City of Dis. Lucifer is also imprisoned in Hell.
But it does not end here because schools but even asteroids have been dedicated to Dante and his works!
Celebrations for Dante Alighieri 700th Anniversary
The celebrations of the Supreme Poet retrace the life and work of Dante. In fact, they are linked to his main work and to his wanderings through Italy.
In Italy, commemorations for Dante’s Eighteenth Century began already on March 25, 2021.
In fact, March 25 is the National Day dedicated to Dante Alighieri, established in 2020 by the Council of Ministers and called Dantedì. On March 25, a date that scholars recognize as the beginning of the journey into the afterlife as the subject of the Divine Comedy, Dante’s genius is remembered throughout Italy and the world with numerous initiatives organized by schools, students and cultural institutions. The 2021 edition is truly the most significant because it takes place, as mentioned now, on the 700th anniversary of the death of the Supreme Poet.
Events in Italy
This city was a second home for Dante after his exile. In fact, the Divine Comedy is full of references to Verona and the city honored the poet with the famous statue in the Piazza dei Signori. For this reason, the Municipality has drawn up a program that will run throughout 2021: Dante a Verona 1321 – 2021.
The city that gave birth to Dante, could not fail to dedicate a large cycle of events for Dante Alighieri 700th anniversary. It began with the installation of Giuseppe Penone’s 22 meter high fir in Piazza Signoria in Florence. The sculpture anticipated the exhibition Alberi Inversi di Penone dedicated to Dante and which is held in the spaces of the Galleries from 1 June to 12 September.
The Bargello Museum houses the oldest portrait of Dante Alighieri, made by Giotto and his workshop between 1321, the year of the poet’s death, and 1337. For the eighteenth century, a catalog of the exhibition entitled Honorable and ancient citizen has been published. from Florence. The Bargello for Dante. The exhibition relating to the catalog has undergone a postponement in the inauguration, due to Covid provisions and was held from 11 May to 8 August. But don’t hesitate if you missed the event! A new exhibition entitled The admirable vision. Dante and the Comedy in the symbolist imagination, will be inaugurated on 23 September 2021 and will run until 9 January 2022.
For all the other and numerous events that the city of Florence will dedicate to Dante, we recommend the site created ad hoc: www.700dantefirenze.it
From March 24th to October 24th, Palazzo Blu celebrates Dante Alighieri 700th anniversary with the exhibition: Tom Phillips. Dante’s Inferno. The British artist Tom Phillips recounts Dante’s Inferno through 139 illustrations, with quotes from famous works, objects of worship, icons of mass society, forays into the world of comics.
The region has prepared a cycle of events that from the famous Dantedì is organized throughout 2021. The program is called: A Riveder le Stelle and all specific dates can be found in a dedicated section on the Lazio Region website: www.regione.lazio.it/rl/dante/
Rome too is obviously involved in the initiative. One of the next dates is September 25th, when it will take place: Percorsi danteschi al Castrum Caetani – Conferenze dantesche e concerto di musica medievale at the Appia Antica Archaeological Park – Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella and Church of San Nicola in Rome.
The municipal administration has set up the Dante Project: a full calendar of events that will accompany an exhibition that will celebrate the Eighteenth-centenary of Alighieri. The exhibition was inaugurated on June 18 and is set up in the hall of the ancient Court Library of the Visconteo Castle.
For the complete calendar of events, the Municipality has dedicated a section on its website: www.vivipavia.it/site/home/eventi/progetto-dante
In one of the hells bolgias, Dante meets Manto, daughter of Tiresia. Her story has to do with the mythical origins of the city where Virgil was born, that is Mantua. Thus the city could not fail to celebrate Dante Alighieri 700th anniversary. Palazzo Ducale is planning an exhibition project entitled “Dante and the culture of the fourteenth century in Mantua”. The exhibition will be inaugurated on October 15 and will end on January 9, 2022 and intends to reconstruct the literary and figurative culture of the early fourteenth century in the city.
For further information: www.mantovaducale.beniculturali.it/it/news/712-dante-e-il-mito-delle-origini-di-mantova
Ravenna is the city where the Supreme Poet Dante Alighieri lived the last years of his life: here is his tomb, here his museum. The city has made it big for the Poet’s 700th anniversary. A website has been set up where it is possible to find a list of the places in the city dedicated to Dante, but also the entire calendar of events:
There is certainly no lack of opportunities, across the whole of Italy. To not miss a single one, just take a look at the website of the Ministry of Culture:
Whether you choose to go there by boat with Charon, or accompanied on foot by Virgil, the important thing is to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante, one of the fathers of the Italian language. And if you tag yourself in one of these places the important thing is also not to write “I were been here”, one more hell circle can always be found!