In this latest Journal entry dedicated to the great poet whose death 700 years ago is being commemorated in Italy this year, we tell how Dante, though originally from Florence, belongs now to the people of the world.
Prince Carlo came to Florence and Dante welcomed him.
In early March 1294, Prince Carlo Martello d’Angiò came to Florence.
And Dante welcomed him with a delegation of Florentines led by one bearing the most Florentine name of all: Giano di messer Vieri de ‘Cerchi. Dante and Carlo were young men then; they got to know each other, they talked about poetry. Carlo would die a year later and Dante, composing il Paradiso at that time, would remember him: when, in the fictitious world of verse, he meets his friend again, he confesses to him “the deep joy / that your words have filled me with, my Lord.”
Reading Dante makes the whole world Florentine.
As a poet and ambassador, Dante Alighieri practiced the profession that would have continued to be his in the seven centuries that span our lifetime and his. Through his rhymes, Florence today travels around the world. And even though his city – at times divided – mistreated him, and he famously signed a letter with “Florentine by birth, but not by character”, we at Il Bisonte take part in the 2021 celebrations in his honor with one conviction: reading Dante is a gesture that makes the world Florentine, not by birth, but by – new, reunited, sustainable – character.