“Seven centuries after the poet Dante was exiled from Florence, the Tuscan city wants him back – or at least what remains of him.
“The author of The Divine Comedy was banished from Florence for political reasons and eventually died in Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, where his remains are kept in a huge white tomb.
“Now Florence is probing the possibility of bringing him back ‘home’ for the 700th anniversary of his death, to be commemorated in 2021.
“Reclaiming the remains of the poet is potentially big business – around 400,000 people visit his tomb in Ravenna each year. [. . .]
“His remains are held in a tomb next to the Basilica of St Francis and Florence supplies the oil for the lamp that illuminates his resting place, in a perpetual act of penance for having banished him.
“Florence would like to have Dante back, for a limited period rather than permanently, in time for the 2021 commemorations of his death.
“But keenly aware of the intense regional rivalries and jealousy that still exist between Italy’s former city states, it is proceeding diplomatically.” [. . .] — Nick Squires, The Telegraph, July 31, 2019.
Contributed by Cathy Robison, Clemson University