Dante Alighieri’s Tomb

Dante Alighieri’s Tomb

In Ravenna there is the tomb of Dante Alighieri, a famous Italian writer, whose Devine Comedy is considered to be the most important Medieval European literature work. This work also laid foundations for the creation of the modern Italian language.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was an Italian poet, writer and politician. Even though Dante wrote numerous literature works that were well-accepted, nothing was to compare to his last work - The Devine Comedy which brought him fame and in a way - immortality. In his Comedy, Dante depicted the time in which he lived with its political and social tendencies. In one part of his work, he imagined hell as a cone around which sinners are located in different layers according to the gravity of their sins. He spared neither the Catholic Church nor its representatives, whom he placed in more advanced layers. Believing that the church representatives are corrupt and that during their lives they only seek for gold, Dante depicted them turned upside-down with their heads in the ground, from which the gold comes from.

Sadly, Dante did not live to see the popularity of his work, because he finished the work in 1321, the same year when he died.

Dante was born and raised in Florence, where he occupied several important political offices. At this time, Italy was divided into numerous “city states” with their own noblemen and political systems. Florence’s independence and their different way of thinking was always a thorn in the eye for many Popes. Consequently, after the coup organized by the Pope, a more radical fraction came to power in the city which condemned Dante to exile. In case Dante reappeared in Florence he was to face burning on the stake.
After the exile, Date lived in many Italian cities and finally settled in Ravenna where he died a few years later.

Interesting facts

  • If you pay attention, you will notice above the tomb of Dante a small oil lamp hanging from the ceiling. The olive oil burned in this lamp comes from the Tuscany hills, and it is donated each year by the city of Florence on the date of Dante’s death, September 14th.
  • A few years after his death, the citizens of Florence started asking that the remains of the poet be transported to Florence. This was allowed in 1519, but when the delegation reached the grave they found it empty. Franciscan monks hid the remains and refused to give them back.
  • When in 1810 the Franciscan order was suppressed by the orders of Napoleon, the monks hid the remains of the poet again. Thy walled up a chest with the remains in one of the walls of the monastery and left the town. Only in 1865, during the restoration works, one worker accidentally found the chest with Dante’s remains.
  • Never losing the hope that the remains of the poet will once return to Florence, in 1829 a tomb -like monument was built in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, representing the poet.
  • After his exile, Dante never ever saw his wife with whom he had 4 children.

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