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Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri (Florence 1265 - Ravenna 1321) is considered the greatest poet in Italian literature and one of the founders of the Italian language. Born to a small noble family in Florence, he was a member of the “Dolce Stil Novo” (The Sweet New Style) movement in his youth, a school of poetry at the end of the 1200s, dedicating most of his early poetry (Rime) to Beatrice Portinari, the young girl he was in love with. Later, Dante rewrote the spiritual story of their love in his Vita Nova, an autobiographical work in verse and prose. In 1300, he assumed the political office of a Florentine Prior and started to oppose Pope Bonifacio VIII’s plans: as part of his expansion policy, the Pope wanted to extend his authority to include all Tuscany.
The Pope’s supporters in 1301 managed to gain power over Tuscany and so Dante was immediately forced into exile. He started to move all around Italy, continuing in his wanders until his death in 1321. First he stayed with Count Malaspina in Lunigiana and then with Bartolomeo della Scala in Verona. Dante wrote his The Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy) his main work and the greatest poem in Italian literature, is considered the most important literary testimonies of Mediaeval civilisation in the West and one of the classics of universal literature. It is split into three ‘cantos’ (songs): Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise). In the 21st canto of the Inferno, Dante describes Venice’s Arsenale, at the time the greatest “industrial complex” in the world: “Quale ne l’arzanà dei viniziani, bolle d’inverno la tenace pece…” (As in the Arsenal of the Venetians, In wintertime they boil the viscous pitch). In 1310 he wrote an important political treatise, De Monarchia, and in his last years he returned to Verona, as the guest of Can Grande della Scala, and then to Ravenna, where he completed the last part of his Divina Commedia.


1300 - 1400  -   - rev. 0.1.7

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Venice and its lagoons

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