Dante’s Florence on the Apple App Store




“Did you know that you can still find a famous rock, called Dante’s Stone, where nineteenth-century travelers, including Mark Twain and Wordsworth, once paid homage to the great poet? Have you seen the oldest fresco of Dante? It’s in a restaurant, but they’ll let you in to see it even if you don’t eat there.


[. . .]


“The user interface has been streamlined to be intuitive and responsive. You can select any of its approximately one hundred points of interest either from the menus or the two interactive maps. Each document was written by professional medievalists who put what you’re seeing into historical context. The fruit of our archival research and years of study is presented in a witty and fun style that teaches while it entertains.”    –Quod Manet, LLC, Apple App Store, 2018


After 700 years, Dante could finally be on his way home to Florence

“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

Dante’s Last Laugh

“Dante Alighieri will forever be associated with Florence, city of his birth and the dialect he helped elevate such that it would one day become the basis of Italy’s national language. Yet when Dante died nearly 700 years ago this week, Florence isn’t where he ended up.

“The story of how Dante’s remains came to be in Ravenna isn’t that complicated. It’s how they came to stay there that gets strange.

“When the poet died, sometime between September 13-14th, 1321, he hadn’t seen Florence for some 20 years. Exiled for life after finding himself on the losing side of a war for control of the city, Dante spent the next several years roaming, defiantly refusing conditional offers to return home on terms he saw as unjust.” [. . .]   — Jessica Phelan, The Local, September 14, 2018

Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Journey Without End by Ian Thomson (Review)

“None of us today would have heard of Beatrice di Portinari had Dante, Italy’s greatest poet, not decided to retain the suggestive name (‘Beatrice’ signifies blessings) of a Florentine girl whom he conveniently first met at the age of nine – forms of three represent the Trinity in The Divine Comedy’s innovative terza rima – as his celestial Guide. Beatrice takes over from Virgil. No pagan, however distinguished, may enter Dante’s paradise. Beatrice is the initially reproachful (‘What right had you to climb the mountain?’) but eventually redemptive spirit who draws the purified poet into the heart of the eternal rose within which, in the bliss-filled closing lines of The Divine Comedy, Dante himself becomes annihilated and immortalised.” [. . .]    –Miranda Seymour, The Guardian, August 12, 2018

Mapping Dante’s Inferno, One Circle of Hell at a Time

“I found myself, in truth, on the brink of the valley of the sad abyss that gathers the thunder of an infinite howling. It was so dark, and deep, and clouded, that I could see nothing by staring into its depths.”

“This is the vision that greets the author and narrator upon entry the first circle of Hell—Limbo, home to honorable pagans—in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of his 14th-century epic poem, Divine Comedy. Before Dante and his guide, the classical poet Virgil, encounter Purgatorio and Paradiso, they must first journey through a multilayered hellscape of sinners—from the lustful and gluttonous of the early circles to the heretics and traitors that dwell below. This first leg of their journey culminates, at Earth’s very core, with Satan, encased in ice up to his waist, eternally gnawing on Judas, Brutus, and Cassius (traitors to God) in his three mouths. In addition to being among the greatest Italian literary works, Divine Comedy also heralded a craze for “infernal cartography,” or mapping the Hell that Dante had created.

“This desire to chart the landscape of Hell began with Antonio Manetti, a 15th-century Florentine (like Dante himself) architect and mathematician. He diligently worked on the “site, form and measurements” of Hell, assessing, for example, the width of Limbo—87.5 miles across, he calculated. There are several theories for why it was so important then to delineate Dante’s Hell, including the general popularity of cartography at the time and the Renaissance obsession with proportions and measurements.” […]    –Anika Burgess, Atlas Obscura, July 13, 2017

Performance for the Millennial Celebration of San Miniato al Monte (2018)

san-miniato-1000-terzine-dante“In occasione del Millenario di San Miniato, sabato 26 maggio, dalle h. 19.00 (partenza via dell’Erta Canina ang. via Monte alle Croci) centinaia di cantori saliranno dal quartiere di San Niccolò fino all’abbazia, recitando e interpretando le terzine dantesche dedicate al tema del cammino e della salita.

“‘A salire a le stelle /Legato con amore in un volume ciò che per l’universo si squaderna’ è una performance corale i cui protagonisti sono 306 cantori, il pubblico e le strade di Firenze, che tornano ad essere luogo di incontro per i cittadini, grazie a una esperienza culturale comune. I 306 cantori sono infatti di varia estrazione: ragazzi, professionisti, detenuti, personalità della vita pubblica, studenti, educatori, persone in stato di disagio psichico e/o economico, migranti, persone con la sindrome di Down, ragazzi che praticano il Parkour, i musicanti della Filarmonica di Marcialla, persone comuni e fuori dalla norma.” — Gonews.it

The performance was organized by the association Culter as part of their Piume | Dante 2021 program.

Contributed by Irene Zanini-Cordi (Florida State University)

Piume Dante 2021 Performance (June 24 and 25, 2016)

“Prosegue in vista delle celebrazioni del 2021 l’esplorazione dell’universo dantesco che Culter da anni propone attraverso azioni sceniche e corali a cui partecipano come protagonisti centinaia di donne, uomini, bambini fra cui detenuti, migranti, persone affette dalla sindrome di Down, persone con disagio economico, fisico e psichico e a rischio di esclusione sociale.

“PIUME | DANTE2021 Legato con amore in un volume, ciò che per l’universo si sqauderna è stata un’azione performativa verticale, dedicata al tema del volo nella Divina Commedia. Salendo all’interno del Campanile il pubblico ha attraversato spazi diversi incontrando prima un popolo di uccelli, simbolo del desiderio alla dimensione oltremondana che assume le forme metriche e meccaniche delle ali, per poi arrivare infine nell’ultimo piano, vicino al cielo, allo slancio di Ulisse, colui che non ha bisogno di piume per provare a volare.” — Culter.it

The performance was staged at the Campanile di Giotto at Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, at dawn and at sunset on June 24 and 25, 2016.

See an article covering the event here (with photos, in Italian).

See a video describing the performance here (in Italian).

FIRENZE – prove spettacolo teatrale
foto Opera del Duomo Firenze/ Claudio Giovannini




Campo di Marte, Florence (Italy), March 2018

Dante graffiti in Florence

Florence, Italy (near Piazza della Repubblica)
Photographed by Virginia Marchesi, May 25, 2017

Patrick Cassidy, Vide Cor Meum


“Vide Cor Meum” is an aria by Irish composer Patrick Cassidy. The aria, based on Dante’s sonnet “A ciascun’alma presa e gentil core,” was originally composed as a mini opera for the 2001 Ridley Scott film Hannibal. The aria was performed on the grounds of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence for the production of the film, which stars Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.

The scene of the performance is available to view on YouTube.

See Dante Today‘s post on the film Hannibal here.