Exactly seven hundred years ago, on September 14th 1321, the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri died in exile in the city of Ravenna. The author of La Divinia Commedia (The Divine Comedy) was fifty-six years old.
Rome is the first city mentioned in the Divine Comedy, when Virgil appears to Dante in the first canto of the Inferno:
Nacqui sub Iulio, ancor che fosse tardi,
e vissi a Roma sotto 'l buono Augusto,
nel tempo de li dèi falsi e bugiardi.
(I was born sub Julio, though late in his time,
and lived at Rome, under good Augustus
in an age of false and lying gods.)
Dante visited Rome in September 1301 as part of the embassy sent from Florence to Pope Boniface VIII. It is his only attested visit to the Eternal City.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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