Dante Alighieri

gigatos | November 18, 2021


Dante Alighieri, or Alighiero, baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and also known by the single name Dante, of the Alighieri family (Florence, between May 21 and June 21, 1265 – Ravenna, night between September 13 and 14, 1321), was an Italian poet, writer and politician. The name “Dante”, according to the testimony of Jacopo Alighieri, is a hypocoristic of Durante; in documents it was followed by the patronymic Alagherii or the gentilizio de Alagheriis, while the variant “Alighieri” became established only with the advent of Boccaccio.

He is considered the father of the Italian language; his fame is due to the authorship of the Comedia, which became famous as the Divine Comedy and is universally considered the greatest work written in the Italian language and one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature. An expression of medieval culture, filtered through the lyricism of the Dolce stil novo, the Commedia is also an allegorical vehicle of human salvation, which takes shape in touching the dramas of the damned, the purgatorial pains and the heavenly glories, allowing Dante to offer the reader a cross-section of morals and ethics.

Important linguist, political theorist and philosopher, Dante ranged within the human knowledge, deeply marking the Italian literature of the following centuries and the same Western culture, so much to be nicknamed the “Supreme Poet” or, by antonomasia, the “Poet”. Dante, whose remains are located at the tomb in Ravenna built in 1780 by Camillo Morigia, has become one of the symbols of Italy in the world, thanks to the name of the main body for the diffusion of the Italian language, the Dante Alighieri Society, while critical and philological studies are kept alive by the Dante Society.


The date of birth of Dante is not known exactly, even if it is usually indicated around 1265. This date is derived on the basis of some autobiographical allusions reported in the Vita Nova and in the cantica of the Inferno, which begins with the famous verse Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. Since the middle of man”s life is, for Dante, the thirty-fifth year of life and since the imaginary journey takes place in 1300, it would consequently date back to 1265. In addition to the lucubrations of the critics, this hypothesis is supported by a contemporary of Dante, the Florentine historian Giovanni Villani who, in his Nova Cronica, reports that “this Dante died in exile in the municipality of Florence at the age of about 56 years”: a proof that would confirm this idea. Some verses of Paradise also tell us he was born under the sign of Gemini, therefore in a period between May 21 and June 21.

However, if the day of his birth is unknown, the day of his baptism is certain: March 27, 1266, on Holy Saturday. On that day, all those born during the year were brought to the sacred font for a solemn collective ceremony. Dante was baptized with the name of Durante, later syncopated into Dante, in memory of a Ghibelline relative. Pregnant with classical references is the legend narrated by Giovanni Boccaccio in Il Trattatello in laude di Dante regarding the birth of the poet: according to Boccaccio, Dante”s mother, shortly before giving birth to him, had a vision and dreamed of being under a very tall laurel tree, in the middle of a vast meadow with a gushing spring together with the little Dante who had just given birth and of seeing the child reach out his little hand towards the branches, eat the berries and transform himself into a magnificent peacock.

Dante belonged to the Alighieri family, a family of secondary importance within the Florentine social elite who, over the last two centuries, had achieved a certain economic affluence. Although Dante claims that his family descended from the ancient Romans, the most distant relative he mentions is his great-great-grandfather Cacciaguida degli Elisei, a Florentine who lived around 1100 and was a knight in the Second Crusade in the retinue of Emperor Conrad III.

As Arnaldo D”Addario points out in the Enciclopedia dantesca, the Alighieri family (which took its name from the family of Cacciaguida”s wife) passed from a meritocratic noble status to a wealthy bourgeois one, but less prestigious on the social level. Dante”s paternal grandfather, Bellincione, was in fact a commoner, and a commoner married Dante”s sister. Bellincione”s son (and Dante”s father), Aleghiero or Alighiero di Bellincione, worked as a compsor (money-changer), with which he managed to provide a dignified decorum for his large family. Thanks to the discovery of two parchments preserved in the Diocesan Archive of Lucca, however, we learn that Dante”s father would have also been a usurer (giving rise to the tenzone between Alighieri and his friend Forese Donati), drawing enrichment through his position as prosecutor at the court of Florence. He was moreover a Guelph, but without political ambitions: for this the Ghibellines did not exile him after the battle of Montaperti, as they did with other Guelphs, judging him a non-dangerous adversary.

Dante”s mother was called Bella degli Abati, daughter of Durante Scolaro and belonging to an important local Ghibelline family. Dante”s son never mentioned her in his writings, with the result that we have very little biographical information about her. Bella died when Dante was five or six years old and Alighiero soon remarried, perhaps between 1275 and 1278, with Lapa di Chiarissimo Cialuffi. From this marriage were born Francesco and Tana Alighieri (Gaetana) and perhaps also – but she may also have been Bella degli Abati”s daughter – another daughter remembered by Boccaccio as the wife of the Florentine auctioneer Leone Poggi and mother of his friend Andrea Poggi. It is believed that Dante alludes to her in Vita nuova (Vita nova) XXIII, 11-12, calling her “a young and gentle woman of the most propinquissima sanguinitade congiunta”.

Intellectual training

Not much is known about Dante”s education. In all likelihood he followed the educational process of the time, which was based on training with a grammarian (also known by the name of doctor puerorum, probably) with whom to learn first the rudiments of language, and then arrive at the study of liberal arts, the pillar of medieval education: arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy on the one hand (dialectic, grammar and rhetoric on the other (trivium). As can be deduced from Convivio II, 12, 2-4, the importance of Latin as a vehicle of knowledge was fundamental for the formation of the student, since the ratio studiorum was based essentially on the reading of Cicero and Virgil on the one hand and of medieval Latin on the other (Arrigo da Settimello, in particular).

His official education was then accompanied by “informal” contacts with cultural stimuli coming at times from high-ranking city environments, at times from direct contact with foreign travelers and merchants who imported into Tuscany the philosophical and literary novelties of their respective countries of origin. Dante had the good fortune to meet, in the eighties, the Florentine politician and scholar Ser Brunetto Latini, who had just returned from a long stay in France both as ambassador of the Republic and as a political exile. The actual influence of Ser Brunetto on the young Dante has been the object of study by Francesco Mazzoni. Both philologists, in their studies, tried to frame the legacy of the author of the Tresor on the intellectual formation of the young fellow citizen. Dante, for his part, recalled with emotion the figure of Latini in the Commedia, remarking the humanity and the affection he received:

From these verses, Dante clearly expressed his appreciation of literature understood in its “civic” sense, in the sense of civic utility. The community in which the poet lives, in fact, will keep his memory even after his death. Umberto Bosco and Giovanni Reggio, moreover, underline the analogy between Dante”s message and the one manifested by Brunetto in the Tresor, as can be deduced from the Tuscan vulgarization of the work realized by Bono Giamboni.

Dante, in the aftermath of the death of his beloved Beatrice (in a period oscillating between 1291 and 12941295), began to refine his philosophical culture by attending the schools organized by the Dominicans of Santa Maria Novella and the Franciscans of Santa Croce; if the latter were hereditary of the thought of Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, the former were hereditary of the Aristotelian-Thomistic lesson of Thomas Aquinas, allowing Dante to deepen (perhaps thanks to the direct listening of the famous scholar Fra” Remigio de” Girolami) the Philosopher par excellence of medieval culture. Moreover, reading the comments of intellectuals who opposed the Thomist interpretation (such as the Arab Averroè), allowed Dante to adopt a “polyphonic Aristotelianism” sensibility.

Some critics believe that Dante stayed in Bologna. Giulio Ferroni also believes that Dante”s presence in the city of Bologna is certain: “A Bolognese memorial of the notary Enrichetto delle Querce attests (in a local linguistic form) the sonnet Non mi poriano già mai fare ammenda: the circumstance is considered an almost certain indication of Dante”s presence in Bologna before this date”. Both believe that Dante studied at the University of Bologna, but there is no evidence in this regard.

Instead it is very likely that Dante stayed in Bologna between the summer of 1286 and that of 1287, where he met Bartolomeo da Bologna, to whose theological interpretation of the Empireo Dante partly adheres. Regarding the Parisian stay, there are several doubts: in a passage of Paradise, (Which, reading in the Vico de li Strami, sylogized invidïosi veri), Dante would allude to the Rue du Fouarre, where the lessons of the Sorbonne took place. This has led some commentators to think, in a purely conjectural way, that Dante may actually have gone to Paris between 1309 and 1310.

Dante also had the opportunity to participate in the lively literary culture revolving around the vernacular lyric. In the sixties of the thirteenth century, in Tuscany came the first influences of the “Sicilian School”, a poetic movement that arose around the court of Frederick II of Swabia and that reworked the love themes of Provençal poetry. The Tuscan literati, suffering the influences of the lyricism of Giacomo da Lentini and Guido delle Colonne, developed a lyricism oriented both towards courtly love, but also towards politics and civil commitment. Guittone d”Arezzo and Bonaggiunta Orbicciani, that is to say the main exponents of the so-called Sicilian-Tuscan school, had a follower in the figure of the Florentine Chiaro Davanzati, who imported the new poetic code within the walls of his city. It was in Florence, however, that some young poets (led by the noble Guido Cavalcanti) expressed their dissent with regard to the stylistic and linguistic complexity of the Siculo-Tuscans, advocating a sweeter and gentler lyricism: the dolce stil novo.

The marriage with Gemma Donati

When Dante was twelve years old, in 1277, his marriage was arranged with Gemma, daughter of Messer Manetto Donati, whom he later married at the age of twenty in 1285. To contract marriages at such an early age was quite common at that time; it was done with an important ceremony, which required formal acts signed in front of a notary. The family to which Gemma belonged – the Donati – was one of the most important in late medieval Florence and later became the point of reference for the political party opposite to that of the poet, namely the Black Guelphs.

The marriage between the two of them was not a very happy one, according to the tradition collected by Boccaccio and then adopted in the nineteenth century by Vittorio Imbriani. Dante did not write a single verse to his wife, while there is no information about her actual presence at the side of her husband during his exile. However, the union generated two sons and a daughter: Jacopo, Pietro, Antonia and a possible fourth, Giovanni. Of the three certain ones, Pietro was a judge in Verona and the only one who continued the lineage of the Alighieri, as Jacopo chose to follow an ecclesiastical career, while Antonia became a nun with the name of Sister Beatrice, it seems in the Olivetan convent in Ravenna.

Political and Military Commitments

Shortly after his marriage, Dante began to participate as a knight in some military campaigns that Florence was conducting against its external enemies, including Arezzo (Battle of Campaldino, June 11, 1289) and Pisa (taking of Caprona, August 16, 1289). Later, in 1294, he would have been part of the delegation of knights who escorted Charles Martel of Anjou (son of Charles II of Anjou), who in the meantime was in Florence. The political activity took Dante starting from the early 1290, in a very convulsive period for the Republic. In 1293 Giano Della Bella”s Ordinamenti di Giustizia came into force, which excluded the ancient nobility from politics and allowed the bourgeois class to obtain roles in the Republic, as long as they were enrolled in an Arte. Dante, as a nobleman, was excluded from city politics until July 6, 1295, when the Temperaments were promulgated, laws that gave back the right to the nobles to hold institutional roles, provided they enrolled in the Arts. Dante, therefore, enrolled in the Guild of Physicians and Apothecaries.

The exact series of his political assignments is not known, since the minutes of the assemblies have been lost. However, through other sources, it has been possible to reconstruct a good part of his activity: he was in the Council of the People from November 1295 to April 1296; he was in the group of the “Savi”, who in December 1296 renewed the norms for the election of the priors, the maximum representatives of each Art who would occupy, for a two-month period, the most important institutional role in the Republic; from May to December 1296 he was part of the Council of the Hundred. He was sometimes sent as ambassador, as in May 1300 in San Gimignano. In the meantime, within the Florentine Guelph party there was a very serious fracture between the group led by the Donati family, supporters of a conservative and aristocratic policy (black Guelphs), and the group that instead supported a moderately popular policy (white Guelphs), led by the Cerchi family. The split, also due to political and economic reasons (the Donati, exponents of the ancient nobility, had been outclassed in power by the Cerchi, considered by the first of the parvenu), generated an internal war which Dante did not escape siding, moderately, on the side of the white Guelphs.

In the year 1300, Dante was elected one of the seven priors for the bimonthly period 15 June-15 August. Despite belonging to the Guelph party, he always tried to oppose the interference of his arch-enemy Pope Boniface VIII, seen by the poet as the supreme emblem of the moral decadence of the Church. With the arrival of Cardinal Matteo d”Acquasparta, sent by the pontiff as a peacemaker (but actually sent to reduce the power of the White Guelphs, in that period in full ascendancy over the Blacks), Dante was able to hinder his work. Also during his priory, Dante approved the serious measure by which they were exiled, in an attempt to restore peace within the state, eight members of the Guelphs blacks and seven of those whites, including Guido Cavalcanti who died shortly thereafter in Sarzana. This measure had serious repercussions on the developments of the future events: not only it turned out to be a useless disposition (the black Guelphs temporeggiarono before leaving for Umbria, the place destined to their confinement), but it made risk a coup d”état by the black Guelphs themselves, thanks to the secret support of the cardinal of Acquasparta. Moreover, the measure attracted on its advocates (including Dante himself) both the hatred of the black party and the distrust of the white “friends”: the first, obviously, for the wound inflicted; the second, for the blow given to their party by one of its own members. In the meantime, the relations between Bonifacio and the government of the whites worsened further from the month of September, when the new priors (who succeeded the college of which Dante was a part) immediately revoked the ban on the whites, showing their partisanship and thus giving the papal legate Cardinal d”Acquasparta a way to hurl the anathema on Florence. With the sending of Charles of Valois to Florence, sent by the pope as a new peacemaker (but in fact conqueror) in place of Cardinal d”Acquasparta, the Republic sent to Rome, in an attempt to distract the pope from his hegemonic aims, an ambassadorship of which Dante was an essential part, accompanied by Maso Minerbetti and Corazza da Signa.

The beginning of the exile (1301-1304)

Dante was then in Rome, it seems held back beyond measure by Boniface VIII, when Charles of Valois, at the first upheaval citizen, took pretext to put to iron and fire Florence with a coup. The 9 November 1301 the conquerors imposed like podestà Cante Gabrielli from Gubbio, which belonged to the faction of the guelfi blacks of its native town and therefore gave beginning to a politics of systematic persecution of the exponents political of part white hostile to the pope, fact that resolved to the end in their killing or in the expulsion from Florence. With two successive condemnations, that of 27 January and that of 10 March 1302, which also affected numerous members of the Cerchi families, the poet was condemned, in absentia, to be burned at the stake and to have his houses destroyed. From that moment on, Dante never saw his homeland again.

After the unsuccessful attempted coups in 1302, Dante, as captain of the exiles” army, together with Scarpetta Ordelaffi, head of the Ghibelline party and lord of Forlì (where Dante had taken refuge), organized a new attempt to return to Florence. However, the attempt was unfortunate: the podestà of Florence, Fulcieri da Calboli (another citizen of Forlì, an enemy of the Ordelaffi), managed to get the better of him in the battle of Castel Pulciano. Failed also the diplomatic action, in the summer of 1304, of the cardinal Niccolò da Prato, papal legate of pope Benedetto XI (on which Dante had placed a lot of hopes), on July 20 of the same year the whites, reunited to the Lastra, a locality to few kilometers from Florence, decided to undertake a new military attack against the blacks. Dante, considering it correct to wait for a politically more favorable moment, sided against the umpteenth armed struggle, finding himself in a minority to the point that the most intransigent formulated on him suspicions of treason; therefore he decided not to participate in the battle and to take his distance from the group. As predicted by the same, the battle of Lastra was a real failure with the death of four hundred men between Ghibellines and whites. The prophetic message comes from Cacciaguida:

The first phase of the exile (1304-1310)

After the battle of the Lastra, Dante was guest of several courts and families of Romagna, among which the Ordelaffi themselves. The stay in Forlì did not last long, as the exile moved first to Bologna (1305), then to Padua in 1306 and finally to the Marca Trevigiana. From here, Dante was called to Lunigiana by Moroello Malaspina (the one from Giovagallo, since several members of the family bore this name), with whom the poet perhaps came into contact thanks to a common friend, the poet Cino da Pistoia. In Lunigiana (a region in which he arrived in the spring of 1306), Dante had the opportunity to negotiate a diplomatic mission for a peace agreement between the Malaspina and the bishop-count of Luni, Antonio Nuvolone da Camilla (1297 – 1307). As plenipotentiary procurator of the Malaspina, Dante succeeded in having both parties sign the peace of Castelnuovo on October 6, 1306, a success that earned him the esteem and gratitude of his protectors. The hospitality of the Malaspina family is celebrated in Canto VIII of the Purgatory, where, at the end of the poem, Dante praises the figure of Corrado Malaspina the Younger:

In 1307, after leaving Lunigiana, Dante moved to Casentino, where he was a guest of the Counts Guidi, Counts of Battifolle and Lords of Poppi, where he began to write the Inferno.

The Descent of Henry VII (1310-1313)

The stay in the Casentino lasted very little time: between 1308 and 1310 one can in fact hypothesize that the poet resided first in Lucca and then in Paris, even if it is not possible to evaluate with certainty the transalpine sojourn as already stated above. Dante, more likely, was in Forli in 1310, where he received the news, in the month of October, of the descent into Italy of the new emperor Arrigo VII. Dante looked at that expedition with great hope, since he saw in it not only the end of Italian political anarchy, but also the concrete possibility of finally returning to Florence. In fact, the emperor was greeted by Italian Ghibellines and Guelph political outcasts, a combination that pushed the poet to get closer to the Italian imperial faction led by the Scaligers of Verona. Dante, who between 1308 and 1311 was writing the De Monarchia, manifested his open imperial sympathies, hurling a violent letter against the Florentines on March 31, 1311 and arriving, on the basis of what is said in the epistle addressed to Arrigo VII, to meet the emperor himself in a private conversation. It is not surprising, therefore, that Ugo Foscolo will come to define Dante as a Ghibelline:

Dante”s dream of a Renovatio Imperii was shattered on August 24, 1313, when the emperor died suddenly at Buonconvento. If the violent death of Corso Donati, on October 6, 1308, at the hands of Rossellino Della Tosa (the most intransigent exponent of the Black Guelphs), had already dashed Dante”s hopes, the death of the emperor dealt a mortal blow to the poet”s attempts to return definitively to Florence.

The last years

The day after the sudden death of the emperor, Dante accepted the invitation of Cangrande della Scala to reside at his court in Verona. Dante had already had the opportunity, in the past, to reside in the Venetian city, in those years at the height of its power. Petrocchi, as outlined first in his essay Itinerari danteschi and then in the Life of Dante recalls how Dante had already been a guest for a few months between 1303 and 1304, at Bartolomeo della Scala, older brother of Cangrande. When Bartolomeo died in March 1304, Dante was forced to leave Verona because his successor, Alboino, was not in good terms with the poet. At the death of Alboino, in 1312, became his successor his brother Cangrande, among the leaders of the Italian Ghibellines and protector (as well as friend) of Dante. It was in virtue of this bond that Cangrande called the Florentine exile and his sons to himself, giving them security and protection from the various enemies they had made over the years. The friendship and esteem between the two men was such that Dante exalted, in the Canto of Paradise – composed for the most part during his stay in Verona – his generous patron in a panegyric by the mouth of his ancestor Cacciaguida:

In 2018, Paolo Pellegrini, professor at the University of Verona, discovered a new letter, probably written by Dante himself in August 1312 and sent by Cangrande to the new emperor Henry VII; it would substantially change the date of the poet”s stay in Verona, bringing forward his arrival to 1312, and would exclude the hypothesis that Dante was in Pisa or Lunigiana between 1312 and 1316.

Dante, for reasons still unknown, moved away from Verona to Ravenna in 1318, at the court of Guido Novello da Polenta. Critics have tried to understand the causes of Dante”s departure from Verona, given the excellent relations between Dante and Cangrande. Augusto Torre hypothesized a political mission in Ravenna, entrusted to him by his protector; others put the causes in a momentary crisis between Dante and Cangrande, or in the attraction of being part of a court of men of letters among which the lord himself (i.e. Guido Novello), who professed himself as such. However, relations with Verona did not cease completely, as witnessed by Dante”s presence in the Venetian city on January 20, 1320, to discuss the Quaestio de aqua et terra, his last Latin work.

The last three years of his life passed relatively quietly in the city of Romagna, during which Dante created a literary circle frequented by his sons Pietro and Jacopo and some young local men of letters, including Pieraccio Tedaldi and Giovanni Quirini. On behalf of the lord of Ravenna carried out occasional political ambassadorships, such as the one that led him to Venice. At that time, the lagoon city was in friction with Guido Novello because of continuous attacks on its ships by the galleys of Ravenna and the doge, enraged, allied himself with Forli to wage war against Guido Novello; the latter, knowing that he did not have the necessary means to face such an invasion, asked Dante to intercede for him before the Venetian Senate. Scholars have wondered why Guido Novello thought of the more than fifty year old poet as his representative: some believe that Dante was chosen for this mission because he was a friend of the Ordelaffi, lords of Forlì, and therefore able to find a way to resolve differences more easily.

Death and funerals

Dante”s ambassadorship had a good effect for the safety of Ravenna, but it was fatal for the poet who, returning from the lagoon city, contracted malaria while passing through the marshy Comacchio Valleys. The fever quickly brought the 56 year old poet to his death, which occurred in Ravenna on the night between September 13 and 14, 1321. The funeral, with great pomp, was held in the church of San Pier Maggiore (today San Francesco) in Ravenna, in the presence of the highest city authorities and his sons. Dante”s sudden death caused great regret in the literary world, as demonstrated by Cino da Pistoia in his song Su per la costa, Amor, de l”alto monte.

The “tombs” of Dante

Dante was initially buried in a marble urn placed in the church where the funeral was held. When the city of Ravenna came under the control of the Serenissima, the podestà Bernardo Bembo (father of the more famous Pietro) ordered the architect Pietro Lombardi, in 1483, to build a great monument to decorate the tomb of the poet. When the city returned to the Papal States at the beginning of the 16th century, the papal legates neglected the fate of Dante”s tomb, which soon fell into ruin. In the course of the next two centuries, only two attempts were made to remedy the disastrous conditions in which the tomb was located: the first was in 1692, when the cardinal legate for Romagne Domenico Maria Corsi and the prolegate Giovanni Salviati, both from noble Florentine families, restored it. Although a few decades had passed, the funeral monument was ruined due to the lifting of the ground below the church, which led the cardinal legate Luigi Valenti Gonzaga to commission the architect Camillo Morigia, in 1780, to design the neoclassical temple still visible today.

The troubled history of the remains

The mortal remains of Dante were the subject of a dispute between the people of Ravenna and the Florentines a few decades after his death, when the author of the Comedy was “rediscovered” by his fellow citizens thanks to the propaganda of Boccaccio. If the Florentines claimed the remains as fellow citizens of the disappeared (already in 1429 the City requested the return of the remains to the Da Polenta), the people of Ravenna wanted them to remain in the place where the poet died, believing that the Florentines did not deserve the remains of a man they had despised in life. In order to save the remains of the poet from being stolen by Florence (a risk that became real under the Medici popes Leo X and Clement VII), they removed the bones from the sepulchre made by Pietro Lombardi, hiding them in a secret place and making Morigia”s monument a cenotaph. When in 1810 Napoleon ordered the suppression of religious orders, the friars, who from generation to generation had handed down the place where the remains were, decided to hide them in a walled door of the adjacent oratory of the quadrarco di Braccioforte. The remains remained in that place until 1865, when a mason, intent on restoring the convent on the occasion of the sixth centenary of the birth of the poet, accidentally discovered under a walled door a small wooden box, bearing inscriptions in Latin signed by a certain friar Antonio Santi (1677), which reported that the box contained the bones of Dante. Indeed, inside the box was found a skeleton almost intact, it was then provided to reopen the urn in the temple of Morigia, which was found empty, except for three phalanges, which were found to match the remains found under the door wall, certifying the authenticity. The body was reassembled, exposed for a few months in a crystal urn and then retumulated inside the temple of Morigia, in a walnut box protected by a lead coffin. In Dante”s sepulchre, under a small altar, there is an epigraph in Latin verses dictated by Bernardo da Canaccio at the behest of Guido Novello, but engraved only in 1357:

The true face of Dante

As can be seen from the various paintings dedicated to him, the poet”s face was very angular, with a grim face and the famous aquiline nose, as shown in Botticelli”s painting placed in the introductory section. It was Giovanni Boccaccio, in his Trattatello in laude of Dante, to provide this physical description:

The role of the vernacular and the “civil” perspective of literature

The role of the vernacular language, defined by Dante in De Vulgari as Hec est nostra vera prima locutio (“our first true language”, in the Italian translation), was fundamental for the development of his literary program. With Dante, in fact, the vernacular took on the status of a cultured and literary language, thanks to the Florentine poet”s iron will to find a common linguistic vehicle among Italians, at least among rulers. He, in the first passages of the De Vulgari, will clearly expose his preference for the colloquial and maternal language than the Latin one, fake and artificial:

The purpose of Dante”s literary production in the vernacular is in fact to be accessible to the reading public, trying to break down the wall between the educated classes (accustomed to interacting with each other in Latin) and the more popular ones, so that the latter could also learn philosophical and moral content until then relegated to the academic environment. There is therefore a vision of literature as an instrument at the service of society, as will be exposed programmatically in the Convivio:

Dante”s choice to use the vernacular language to write some of his works may have been greatly influenced by the works of Andrea da Grosseto, a man of letters of the thirteenth century who used the vernacular language he spoke, the Grosseto dialect of the time, to translate prosaic works into Latin, such as the treatises of Albertano da Brescia.


With this happy expression, the literary critic Gianfranco Contini has identified Dante”s extraordinary versatility, within the Rime, in being able to use several linguistic registers with ease and harmonic grace. As stated before, Dante manifested an open curiosity for the “genetic” structure of the Italians” mother tongue, focusing on the expressions of everyday speech, on more or less refined mottos and jokes. This tendency to frame the textual richness of the mother tongue pushes the Florentine scholar to create a multicolored fresco never created before in Italian vernacular poetry, as lucidly exposed by Giulio Ferroni:

As Guglielmo Barucci points out: “We are not therefore faced with a progressive evolution of Dante”s style, but with the coexistence – even in the same period – of different forms and styles”. The ability with which Dante passes, within the Rime, from amorous themes to political ones, from moral ones to burlesque ones, will find its supreme refinement within the Commedia, succeeding in calibrating the stylistic tripartition called Rota Vergilii, according to which a determined argument must correspond to a determined stylistic register. In the Commedia, where the three cantiche correspond to the three styles “humble”, “middle” and “sublime”, the rigid theoretical tripartition disappears in front of the narrative needs of the writer, so that inside the Inferno (which should correspond to the lowest style), we find passages and places of very high stylistic and dramatic stature, such as the meeting with Francesca da Rimini and Ulysses. The multilingualism, according to a more strictly lexical analysis, is also affected by the numerous idioms with which the literary language of the time was filled: there are in fact Latinisms, Gallicisms and, obviously, the Florentine vernacular.

Dante had a fundamental role in bringing the vernacular lyric to new conquests, not only from the technical-linguistic point of view, but also from the purely content one. The spiritualization of the figure of the beloved Beatrice and the vaguely historical structure in which the love story is inserted, determined the birth of very particular traits within the stilnovism. The presence of the idealized figure of the beloved woman (the so-called woman angel) is a recurrent topos in Lapo Gianni, Guido Cavalcanti and Cino da Pistoia, but in Dante it assumes a more historicized dimension than that of the other writers. Dante”s production, for its philosophical depth can be compared only with that of the master Cavalcanti, with respect to which the divergence consists in the different conception of love. If Beatrice is the angel that operates the spiritual conversion of Dante on Earth and that gives him the celestial beatitude, the woman loved by Cavalcanti is instead a harbinger of suffering, pain that will progressively distance man from that divine catharsis theorized by Alighieri. Another goal achieved by Dante is to have been able to bring out the psychological introspection and autobiography: practically unknown in the Middle Ages, these two dimensions already look to Petrarch and, further still, to humanistic literature. Dante is thus the first, among Italian literati, to “break down” between the self understood as a character and the other self understood as the narrator of his own events. Thus Contini, taking up the thread traced by the American scholar [[

Charles Singleton]], discusses Dante”s poetic and narrative operation:

So De Sanctis, the father of Italian literary historiography, wrote about the woman loved by the poet, Beatrice. Although we are still trying to understand what really consisted, for Dante, the love towards Beatrice Portinari (presumed historical identification of the Beatrice of the Vita Nova), we can only conclude with certainty the importance that this love had for the Italian literary culture. It was in the name of this love that Dante gave his imprint to the Dolce stil novo, opening his “second poetic phase” (in which he manifested his full originality with respect to past models) and leading poets and writers to discover the themes of love in a way never before emphasized. The love for Beatrice (as in a different way Francesco Petrarch will show for his Laura) will be the starting point for the formulation of his poetic manifesto, a new conception of courtly love sublimated by his intense religious sensibility (the Marian cult with the lauds arrived to Dante through the pauperistic currents of the thirteenth century, from the Franciscans onwards) and, therefore, deprived of the sensual and carnal elements typical of the Provençal lyric. This poetic formulation, culminating with the poetry of praise, will arrive, after the death of the “earthly” Beatrice, first to philosophical research (the Woman of Pity) and then to theological research (the apparition of Beatrice in a dream that urges Dante to return to her after his philosophical misguidance, a criticism that will become harsher in Purgatory, XXX). This allegorization of the beloved, understood as a vehicle of salvation, definitively marks the detachment from the love theme and pushes Dante towards true wisdom, that is, dazzling and impenetrable light that envelops God in Paradise. Beatrice is confirmed, therefore, in that salvific role typical of angels, which brings not only to the beloved, but to all men that beatitude mentioned earlier.

Maintaining an allegorical function, Dante places a numerological value on the figure of Beatrice. It is in fact at the age of nine that he meets her for the first time, then in the ninth hour a subsequent encounter takes place. Of her he will also say: “she does not suffer to be in another number if not in nine”. Dante makes Beatrice die on June 9 (although it was actually the 8) writing on it: “the perfect number was accomplished”.

After the end of the amorous experience, Dante concentrated more and more on a poetry characterized by philosophical-political reflection, which will assume hard and suffering traits in the rhymes of the second half of the nineties, also called “petrose” rhymes, as they are centered on the figure of a certain “petra woman”, completely antithetical to the “women who have intellect of Love”. In fact, as Salvatore Guglielmino and Hermann Grosser report, Dante”s poetry lost that sweetness and gracefulness proper to the lyrics of the Vita nova, to take on harsh and difficult connotations:

Literary sources and models

Dante had a profound love for classical antiquity and its culture: proof of this is his devotion to Virgil, his high respect for Caesar and for the numerous Greek and Latin sources he used in constructing the imaginary world of the Commedia (of which the citation of “li spiriti magni” in If IV is an explicit reference to the authors on which Dante”s culture rested). In the Comedy, the poet glorifies the moral and intellectual elite of the ancient world in Limbo, a pleasant and pleasant place at the gates of Hell where the righteous who died without baptism live, without, however, feeling pain for the lack of bliss. Contrary to what Petrarch and Boccaccio will do, Dante proved to be a man still fully tied to the medieval vision that man had of Greek and Latin civilization, since he framed the latter within the history of salvation advocated by Christianity, a certainty based on the medieval doctrine of exegesis called the four senses (literal, symbolic, allegorical and anagogical) with which they tried to identify the Christian message in the ancient authors. Virgil is seen by Dante not in his historical and cultural dimension as a Latin intellectual of the Augustan age, but rather in his prophetic-soteriological dimension: it was he, in fact, who predicted the birth of Jesus Christ in the Fourth Egloga of the Eclogues and thus was glorified by medieval Christians. In addition to this mythical dimension of the figure of Virgil, Dante looked to him as a supreme literary and moral model, as evidenced in the proem of the Poem:

Dante was greatly influenced by the world around him, drawing inspiration both from the artistic dimension in the strict sense (busts, bas-reliefs and frescoes in churches), and from what he could see in his daily life. Barbara Reynolds reports how

The episodes of Malacoda, Barbariccia and the masnada that appear in If XXI, XXII and XXIII, therefore, are not ascribable only to the personal imagination of the poet, but are derived, in their powerful and degrading iconographic caricature, from what the poet could see in the churches and or streets of Florence through allegorical shows. In addition to iconographic sources, there were also texts that presented the devil with inhuman and bestial features: first of all, the vision of Tundale of the eleventh century, in which the devil devouring the souls of the damned is described, but also the chronicles of Giacomino da Verona and Bonvesin de la Riva. The same landscapes of the Comedy follow the description of the medieval cities: the presence of fortifications (the castle of Limbo, the walls of the city of Dite), the bridges on the Malebolge, the hints, in canto XV, to the imposing dams of Bruges and Padua and the same infernal punishments are a visual transposition of the medieval “culture” in a broad sense.

A fundamental influence was also exerted by the literary production belonging to Christianity and, to a certain degree, also to the Islamic religion. The Bible is undoubtedly the book that Dante drew on the most: we find echoes of it, in addition to the many in the Commedia, also in the Vita nova (for example, the episode of Beatrice”s death follows that of Christ on Calvary) and in the De vulgari eloquentia (the episode of the Tower of Babel as the origin of languages, present in Book I). In addition to the strictly sacred production, Dante also drew on the medieval religious production, taking inspiration, for example, from the Visio sancti Pauli of the fifth century, a work narrating the ascent of the Apostle of the Gentiles to the third heaven of Paradise. In addition to Christian literary sources, Dante would have come into possession, on the basis of what the philologist Maria Corti has written, of the Book of the Stairs, an Arabic eschatological work translated into Castilian, Old French and Latin on behalf of King Alfonso X.

A concrete example is found in the Islamic concept of the spirit of life (rūh al hayāh) which is considered as “air” that comes out of the cavity of the heart. Dante in this regard writes: “…spirit of life, which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart”.

The Spanish historian Asín Palacios expressed all of Dante”s positions regarding his Islamic knowledge in the text The Islamic Eschatology in the Divine Comedy.

The role of philosophy in Dante”s production

As already mentioned in the biographical part Dante, after the death of Beatrice, immersed himself in the study of philosophy. From the Convivio we know that Dante had read Boethius”s De consolatione philosophiae and Cicero”s De amicitia and that he then began to take part in the philosophical disputes that the two main religious orders (Franciscans and Dominicans) publicly or indirectly held in Florence, the former explaining the doctrine of the mystics and St. Bonaventure, the latter presenting the theories of St. Thomas Aquinas. The critic Bruno Nardi highlights the salient features of Dante”s philosophical thought which, although having a basis in Thomism, also presents other aspects including an obvious influence of Neoplatonism (for example from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the angelic hierarchies of Paradise). Despite the influences of the Platonic school, Dante was more influenced by Aristotle, which in the second half of the thirteenth century had its apogee in medieval Europe.

Dante”s poetic production was influenced by two Aristotelian works in particular: the Physics and the Nicomachean Ethics. The description of the natural world by the philosopher of Stagira, together with the medical tradition dating back to Galen, was the main source from which Dante and Cavalcanti drew for the elaboration of the so-called “doctrine of the spirits”. Through the comments written by Averroè, Dante affirmed that the functioning of the human body was due to the presence of various spirits in certain organs, from which feelings were then born corresponding to the stimulus coming from outside. In the presence of Beatrice, these spirits entered into turmoil, arousing in Dante violent emotional reactions and assuming, as in the case below, even a will of their own, made effective through the rhetorical figure of prosopopeia:

Even more significant was the influence of Aristotle within the Comedy, where the presence of the “Nicomachean Ethics” was felt, as well as the Physics. From the latter, Dante accepted the cosmological structure of Creation (a structure deeply indebted also to the Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy), adapting it to the Christian faith; from the “Ethics”, instead, he took inspiration for the orderly and rational organization of his afterlife, subdividing it into various subunits (circles in Hell, frames in Purgatory and skies in Paradise) where to place certain categories of souls on the basis of the faults committed in life.

In the political sphere, Dante believes with Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas that the State has a rational and natural foundation, based on hierarchical ties capable of providing stability and internal order. Nardi then adds that “while recognizing that the general scheme of his metaphysics is that of Christian scholasticism, it is certain that he has included some characteristic details, such as the mediated production of the lower world and that around the origin of the human soul resulting from the competition of the creative act with the work of nature”.

Several authors have dealt with the esoteric aspects of Dante”s works, perhaps determined by the ascertained adhesion to the sect of the Faithful of Love. The scheme and the contents themselves of the Divine Comedy would make clear references. Under this aspect are of remarkable importance the work of Guenon, L”esoterismo di Dante and the text of Luigi Valli, Il linguaggio segreto di Dante e dei Fedeli d”Amore.

Since the nineteenth century, several authors have supported the thesis that Dante may have been a heretical Christian. Among them Ugo Foscolo and Eugene Aroux. More recently, Maria Soresina has advanced the hypothesis that Dante”s heresy was Catharism.

The Flower and Saying of Love

Two poetic works in the vernacular of similar subject matter, lexicon and style and placed in a chronological period ranging from 1283 to 1287, have been attributed with some certainty to Dante by twentieth-century critics, especially from the work of Dante philologist Gianfranco Contini.

The Rhymes

The Rime are a collection put together and ordered by modern editors, which brings together the complex of Dante”s lyrical production from the youthful trials to those of the mature age (the first are dated around 1284) divided between Rime giovanili and Rime dell”esilio to distinguish two groups of lyrics very different in tone and topics addressed. The Rime giovanili (Rime of youth) include compositions that reflect the various tendencies of the courtly lyricism of the time, that of Guittone, Guinizelli and Cavalcante, passing from amorous themes to playful contests with a veiledly erotic-playful background with Forese Donati and Dante da Maiano.

Vita Nova

The Vita Nova can be considered Dante”s autobiographical “novel”, in which he celebrates his love for Beatrice, presented with all the characteristics of Dante”s Stilnovism. Tale of the spiritual life and of the poet”s poetic evolution, rendered as an exemplum, the Vita nova is a prosimeter (a passage characterized by the alternation of prose and verse) and is structured in forty-two (or thirty-one) prose chapters connected in a homogeneous story, which explains a series of poetic texts composed at different times, among which have particular relevance the song-manifesto Donne ch”avete intelletto d”amore and the famous sonnet Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare. According to a good part of the scholars, for the form of the prosimeter, Dante would have been inspired by the Provençal razos (and by the De consolatione philosophiae of Severino Boezio. The work is dedicated to the love for Beatrice and was probably composed between 1292 and 1293. The composition of the rhymes can be traced back, according to the chronology that Dante provides, between 1283 as it results from the sonnet A ciascun alma presa and after June 1291, anniversary of the death of Beatrice. In order to establish with a certain certainty the date of the composition of the book in its organic whole, lately the critics are inclined to make use of 1300, a date that cannot be surpassed, which corresponds to the death of the addressee Guido Cavalcanti: “Questo mio primo amico a cui io ciò scrivo” (Vita nova, XXX, 3). This work had a particular fortune in the United States, where it was translated by the philosopher and man of letters Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The Convivio (written between 1303 and 1308) from the Latin convivium, or “banquet” (of wisdom), is the first of Dante”s works written immediately after his forced departure from Florence and is the great manifesto of the “civil” purpose that literature must have in human society. The work consists of a commentary on various doctrinal songs placed at the incipit, a true encyclopedia of the most important knowledge for those who want to devote themselves to public and civil activity without having completed regular studies. It is therefore written in the vernacular to be understood by those who have not previously had the opportunity to study Latin. The incipit of the Convivio makes it clear that the author is a great connoisseur and follower of Aristotle; in fact, he is quoted with the term “Lo Filosofo”. The incipit in this case explains to whom this work is addressed and to whom it is not: only those who could not know science should have access to it. These were prevented by two kinds of reasons:

Dante deems blessed the few who can partake of the table of science, where the “bread of angels” is eaten, and wretched those who are content to eat the food of sheep. Dante does not sit at the table, but has fled from those who eat the pastume and has gathered what falls from the table of the elect to create another banquet. The author will set up a banquet and serve a meal (the verse compositions) accompanied by the bread (the prose) necessary to assimilate its essence. Only those who had been prevented by family and civic care will be invited to sit down, while the lazy ones would be at their feet to pick up the crumbs.

De vulgari eloquentia

Contemporary with the Convivio, the De vulgari eloquentia is a treatise in Latin written by Dante between 1303 and 1304. Consisting of a full first book and 14 chapters in the second book, it was initially intended to comprise four books. Although it deals with the subject of the vernacular language, it was written in Latin because the interlocutors Dante addressed belonged to the cultural elite of the time, which, thanks to the tradition of classical literature, considered Latin superior to any vernacular, but also to give the vernacular language a greater dignity: Latin was in fact only used to write about law, religion and international treaties, i.e. topics of the utmost importance. Dante launched into an impassioned defense of the vernacular, saying that it deserved to become an illustrious language capable of competing with, if not equaling, the language of Virgil, arguing, however, that in order to become a language capable of dealing with important subjects, the vernacular had to be

The work was composed on the occasion of the descent in Italy of the emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg between 1310 and 1313. It consists of three books and is the summa of Dante”s political thought. In the first Dante affirms the necessity of a universal and autonomous empire, and recognizes this empire as the only form of government capable of guaranteeing unity and peace. In the second he recognizes the legitimacy of the right of the empire by the Romans. In the third book Dante shows that the authority of the monarch is a divine will, and therefore depends on God: it is not subject to the authority of the pontiff; at the same time, however, the emperor must show respect towards the pontiff, the Vicar of God on Earth. Dante”s position is in many ways original, since it is decisively opposed to the political tradition narrated by the Donation of Constantine: the De Monarchia is in contrast both with the supporters of the hierocratic conception, and with the supporters of the political and religious autonomy of national sovereigns with respect to the emperor and the pope.


The Comedia – original title of the work: later Giovanni Boccaccio attributed the adjective “Divine” to Dante”s poem – is the masterpiece of the Florentine poet and is considered the most important literary testimony of the medieval civilization as well as one of the greatest works of universal literature. It is defined “comedia” because it is written in “comic” style, that is not courtly. Another interpretation is based on the fact that the poem begins with situations full of pain and fear and ends with the peace and sublimity of the vision of God. Dante began working on the work around 1300 (a jubilee year, so much so that he dates his journey through the Dark Forest to April 7 of that year) and continued it during the rest of his life, publishing the cantiche as he completed them. There are reports of manuscript copies of Inferno around 1313, while Purgatorio was published in the following two years. Paradise, begun perhaps in 1316, was published as the cantos were completed in the last years of the poet”s life. The poem is divided into three books or cantiche, each consisting of 33 cantos (except for Inferno, which has 34, since the first serves as a proem to the entire poem) and to which correspond the three styles of the Rota Vergilii; each canto consists of tercets of endecasyllables (the Dantean terzine).

The Comedy tends towards a broad and dramatic representation of reality, far from the pedantic didactic poetry of the Middle Ages, but imbued with a new Christian spirituality that blends with the political passion and literary interests of the poet. It tells of an imaginary journey into the three realms of the afterlife, in which the good and evil of the earthly world are projected, made by the poet himself, as a “symbol” of humanity, under the guidance of reason and faith. The tortuous and arduous path of Dante, whose language becomes more and more complex the higher he climbs towards Paradise, also represents, by way of metaphor, the difficult process of linguistic maturation of the illustrious vernacular, which emancipates itself from the narrow municipal boundaries to make the Florentine vernacular rise above the other variants of the Italian vernacular, enriching it at the same time with their contact. Dante is accompanied both in Hell and in Purgatory by his teacher Virgil; in Paradise by Beatrice and, finally, by Saint Bernard.

The Epistles and Epistle XIII to Cangrande della Scala

Important role have the 13 Epistles written by Dante during the years of exile. Among the main epistles, focused mainly on political issues (relating to the descent of Arrigo VII) and religious (letter addressed to the Italian cardinals gathered, in 1314, to elect the successor of Clement V). Epistola XIII to Cangrande della Scala, dating back to the years between 1316 and 1320, is the last and most important of the epistles currently preserved (although its authenticity is partly doubted). It contains the dedication of Paradise to the Lord of Verona, as well as important indications for the reading of the Comedy: the subject (the condition of souls after death), the plurality of senses, the title (which derives from the fact that it begins in a bitter and sad way and ends with a happy ending), the purpose of the work that is not only speculative, but practical because it aims to remove the living from the state of misery to bring them to happiness.


The Egloghe are two compositions of bucolic character written in Latin between 1319 and 1321 in Ravenna, part of a correspondence with Giovanni del Virgilio, an intellectual from Bologna, whose two compositions end up under the title of Egloga I and Egloga III, while those of Dante are Egloga II and Egloga IV. The correspondence between the two arose when del Virgilio reproached Dante for wanting to conquer the poetic crown by writing in the vernacular and not in Latin, a criticism that provoked Dante”s reaction and the composition of the Egloghe, given that Giovanni del Virgilio had sent Dante such a Latin composition and that, according to the medieval doctrine of responsio, the interlocutor had to respond with the genre used first.

The Quaestio de aqua et terra

The philosophical discussion continued until the end of the poet”s life. On January 20, 1320, Dante went again to Verona to discuss, in the church of Sant”Elena, the structure of the cosmos according to the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic principles which, at that time, were already the object of privileged study for the composition of Paradise. Dante, here, argues how the Earth was at the center of the universe, surrounded by the sublunar world (composed of earth, water, air and fire) and how water is above the terrestrial sphere. Hence, the philosophical treatment characterized by disputatio with opponents.

In Italy

Dante had an almost immediate resonance and fame in Italy. As early as the second half of the fourteenth century, Boccaccio began a veritable diffusion of the cult of Dante, culminating first in the composition of the Trattatello in laude di Dante and then in the Esposizioni sopra la commedia. Boccaccio”s legacy was taken up, during the phase of early humanism, by the Chancellor of the Florentine Republic, Leonardo Bruni, who composed the Life of Dante Alighieri (1436) and who contributed to the continuation of the myth of Dante in the generations of Florentine men of letters (Agnolo Poliziano, Lorenzo de” Medici and Luigi Pulci) and artists (Sandro Botticelli) of the second half of the 15th century. Dante”s parable, however, began to wane from 1525, when Cardinal Pietro Bembo, in Prose della volgar lingua, established the superiority of Petrarch in the field of poetry and Boccaccio for prose. This canon will exclude Dante of the Commedia as a difficult imitator, determining a decline (in spite of the impassioned defenses of Michelangelo first and then of Giambattista Vico) that will last throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, also because of the placing on the Index of De Monarchia. Only with the Romantic and Risorgimento eras did Dante regain a prominent role as a symbol of Italianism and the solitude of the Romantic hero. The high literary value of the Commedia, consecrated by De Sanctis in his Storia della letteratura italiana and then reconfirmed by Carducci, Pascoli and Benedetto Croce, will find in the XX century passionate scholars and connoisseurs in Gianfranco Contini, Umberto Bosco, Natalino Sapegno, Giorgio Petrocchi, Maria Corti and, in the last years, in Marco Santagata.

Also in the twentieth century and in the year 2000, various pontiffs have dedicated thoughts of esteem for Alighieri: Benedict XV, Paul VI, and John Paul II have remembered him for his very high artistic moral value; Benedict XVI for his theological finesse; Pope Francis for the soteriological value of the Comedy.

In the world

Between the fifteenth and twenty-first centuries, Dante experienced alternating phases in the remaining countries of the world, influenced by historical and cultural factors depending on the geographical regions to which they belonged:

During the course of the 20th century, the figure of Dante has been the object of numerous initiatives in order for him to be spread among the general public. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Unification of Italy, Milano Films made the first two feature films dedicated to the Inferno, works that aroused both positive and negative reactions (the latter due to the presence of erotic elements).

In the following decades, the national celebrations of Dante, such as the six hundredth anniversary of his death in 1921 and the seven hundredth anniversary of his birth in 1965, made the Italian people aware of the legacy of the Great Poet, also thanks to the television drama Life of Dante, made in 1965 on the occasion of the seven hundredth anniversary. During the second half of the twentieth century, the work of raising awareness also made use of the issue of lira depicting the face of Dante (as well as Disney comics inspired by the Inferno).

Thanks to television, the diffusion of Dante”s work reached an increasingly wide audience: Vittorio Gassman, Vittorio Sermonti and Roberto Benigni recited the verses of the Comedy in public events. In the rest of the world, instead, Dante inspired the realization of some movies (such as Seven) and some manga (such as the works of Gō Nagai) and videogames (among which Dante”s Inferno).

Characters and places from Inferno were chosen by the International Astronomical Union to name geological formations on the surface of Io, a satellite of Jupiter. In addition, in 1998 the portrait of Dante Alighieri painted by Raffaello Sanzio was chosen as the national face of the Italian 2-euro coin, and in 2015, on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of his birth, two commemorative 2-euro coins were minted, one Italian and the other San Marino.

In 2020, the Italian Republic established March 25 as the date to annually commemorate the figure of Dante; this national day was named Dantedì.

The bibliography on Dante”s life and work is endless; normally, the first research tool is the Enciclopedia dantesca, of the Istituto dell”Enciclopedia italiana Treccani, Rome, 1970-1978, also available online. One can also use computer resources, first of all the bibliography available on the site of the Società Dantesca Italiana. For the paper bibliography, see the entry Bibliography on Dante. In this place, we point out the bibliography used for the scientific editing of the entry:


  1. Dante Alighieri
  2. Dante Alighieri
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