Who Is Dante?

I cannot think of any historical figure more important to read up on if you are preparing for a trip to the Renaissance city. Dante Alighieri, born in Florence in 1265, is rendered as a pinnacle figure in his hometown not only as a poet, but as a philosopher and scholar as well. His family’s involvement in the complex political scene of Florence would manage to have a large influence on his eventual exile of the city as well as his life’s work. His education was unique of its time because of his studies in ancient philosophy, which he combined with his knowledge of Christian beliefs and apply in later life.

He is most notably recognized for his grand poem La Divina Commedia [The Divine Comedy], which he wrote over the course of thirteen years between 1308 until his death in 1321. The poem follows Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and finally, Heaven; however, with further analysis the poem takes a more profound stance as being a representation of one’s soul journey toward God. Even Dan Brown was inspired by Dante in his last novel “Inferno”, we also provide the tour in Florence!

If you still have not been convinced of the importance of Dante Alighieri, here are a few other hard facts about this incredible historical figure:

–          He first wrote in the common language at the time (modern day Italian)

–          He is regarded as the Father of the Italian Language

–          His work invited accessibility to a much broader audience, as prior to this; all other scholarly works were only ever written and read in Latin or Greek.

–          The Divine Comedy marks the endpoint of the Middle Ages and the bridging into the beginning of The Renaissance.

–          He was also the first person to give an interpretation about the afterlife.

–          Dante was also one of the first poets to ever write about love.

Dante has also made major impressions on world literature, theology, music and the arts. Many classic writers such as C.S. Lewis and James Joyce drew inspiration from Dante, as well as renowned composer Franz Liszt who is said to have based many of his pieces on The Divine Comedy. For those of the Romantic Period and Romantics today, Dante is recognized as a primary example of the “original genius” who set his own rules, created persons of overpowering stature and depth, and as someone who could surpass any imitation of his masterly predecessors.

Now that you’ve learned the basics about Dante, when you make your trip to Florence you can be sure that when you indulge yourself in Florencetown’s Walk & Talk Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to embrace the city in all it’s beauty and understand exactly what had stirred Dante and so many other artists over the centuries. Get cultured, be inspired – I know I definitely have been, and in my humble opinion, we owe this man a vat of gratitude for all that he has contributed to us today.

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