Florence’s Doomed Poet and the House He Lived in

Dante’s House, a museum where the poet may have lived while in Florence, is dedicated to the preservation and display of Dante’s work. Many photographs, papers, and other important works by and about the poet are housed in this museum; the Casa di Dante. Controversy over if Dante was born here, or was married near here also reigns. No one seems to be quite sure how Dante’s House is tied into the poet. However it is one of the most respected and admired tourist spots in all of Italy. The museum is designed with three floors; corresponding to the different phases of the poet’s life. First floor has documents on the Florentine life and his childhood, second floor deals with his exile in 1301 and the scandal, third floor deals with iconography and fortune of Dante. It is located in the medieval area of Via Santa Margherita and is closed on Tuesdays. Tickets to enter cost a mere 3 euro (about $2.32). For more information you can call 39 (0) 55 219 416.

To visit the museum and Florence, remember that the best months to visit this fair city are May, June, September and October. That is because the days are warm and long. Other months are very humid and Italians tend to leave, making restaurants close. It is the largest city in Tuscany and is famous for its art and history. Many of the finest museums in the world (Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia) are home here. But the art, the food, even the rich tapestry of history doesn’t hold a candle to Florence’s most awe inspiring touch. That touch grabs you around sundown when the entire city has a glow of rich amber. It is worth the trip alone.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a Florentine poet of noble ancestry. His most noted work, Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy), was seen as the basis for modern Italian making Tuscan the standard for the Italian language. The work is said to be the greatest literary statement in medieval history. Dante was born to Della degli Abati, who died when he was 7, and Dante Alighieri II, who died in the 1280’s. Dante was well educated in both Christian and Classical Literature. At age 12 he was promised in marriage to Gemma Donati, a girl he later married in 1285. But he had but one love, and that was not of his wife but of a girl named Beatrice. Beatrice who was his guide in the Divine Comedy, and the same Beatrice for whom he wrote La Vita Nuova (The New Life). There are multitude of sonnets for Beatrice, and yet none for his wife. Dante was a nomad of country, but came to rest for a final home in Ravenna in 1320. Shortly before his death he was accused of Averriosm (treason against the country) and his book De Monarchia was ordered to be burned by Pope John XXII.

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