The month of September in Ravenna has always been dedicated to the Great Poet Dante Alighieri, called “the father of the Italian language”. Conferences, meetings and insights enrich the cultural panorama of the Byzantine city every year with greater commitment and attention also in view of the 7° centenary from the death of this world-famous Poet (Florence 1265- Ravenna 1321).
Dante Alighieri, exile from Florence where he had been sentenced to death, found refuge in Ravenna with the da Polenta family, the same family of Francesca da Rimini, that Dante had already placed in the V canto of Inferno because of the forbidden love with her brother-in-law Paolo Malatesta, brother of her husband Gianciotto. In the Byzantine city Dante Alighieri spent the last three years of his life and wrote part of Purgatory and Paradise. Here he died of malaria on September 13, 1321 at the age of 56.
The city of Ravenna has always been proud to have been his last home, although for a short period of time, and pays tribute to the Great Poet with a rich programme that from late August to early December celebrates his figure and his poetics. Also this year the exhibition “Viva Dante” offers a calendar of almost one hundred events, providing the difersified audience with scientific and literary insights without neglecting participatory opportunities and confrontation.
A very evocative ceremony and one of the most significant ones is undoubtedly the opening ceremony for the commemoration of Dante’s death, represented by the Oil Ceremony donated by the Municipality of Florence. This oil will feed for the whole year the votive lamp placed in the center of the 19th-century temple, symbolizing the eternal light that must never be extinguished against such an important and international cultural figure. The Oil Ceremony traditionally takes place on the second Sunday of September.
Ravenna for Dante was a “locus amoenus” and continues to be a very important place of historical memory. The “silence area” dedicated to him – where his tomb was built in 1780 by the architect Camillo Morigia from Ravenna – the garden, the wonderful Franciscan cloisters that Dante used to frequent, as well as the adjacent church of San Francesco where his funeral was held, represent one of the most evocative and rich corners of the city’s history: Every night at dusk the 13 bell chimes remind us how Ravenna was his “last refuge”. An important inheritance that every citizen of Ravenna feels and honours through readings, translations, theatre performances and conferences attended by the greatest experts of Dante’s literature.
“Viva Dante” is the result of the commitment of many different parties, that together sought and presented the thousand facets of Dante’s ever-timely work. HERE you can download the full program, consisting of numerous initiatives and events that will involve itineraries, workshops and guided tours. The next unmissable events will be on Sunday, September 8, with the 698th annual commemoration of Dante’s death and the Oil Ceremony, and Friday, September 13, for “Dantedi – International Dante Alighieri day”, in which international students will address the topics of Dante’s presence and role and of Italian culture in Europe and in the world.
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