Dante still relevant – Mattarella on 700th anniversary

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(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 25 – President Sergio Mattarella said Dante Alighieri’s life and work still teach us lessons today as Italy’s celebrates the 700th anniversary of the death of the author of the Divine Comedy on Dantedì – Dante Day.
    The great poet died in Ravenna after being exiled from Florence due to his political activities.
    “Dante gave a lesson of coherence for everyone, politicians included, because you must not go against your conscience,” Mattarella told Corriere della Sera.
    “And one of the most important parts of his legacy is the dilemma between justice and compassion”.
    The ‘Supreme Poet’ will be celebrated across the country with the highest-profile event being a televised reading of Canto XXV of the Paradiso by comic actor, director and Dante buff Roberto Benigni at the presidential Quirinal Palace at 19:10 in the presence of Mattarella and Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.
    In the famed canto, Dante’s muse Beatrice vouches for the poet and pilgrim’s possession of hope in redemption.
    March 25 was chosen as Dante Day as scholars believe it was on this date that Italy’s greatest poet descended into Hell for the first part of his epic journey through the Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.
    Later on Thursday Benigni will recite on Rai3 the iconic Paolo and Francesca episode from Canto V of the Inferno, a tale of forbidden love and honour killing that has inspired artists including Rodin and Dante Gabriele Rossetti, as well as countless musical interpretations.
    Dante as a pilgrim was so struck by the story of passionate love that he fainted in Inferno, while Dante the philosopher and religious thinker condemned the lovers for their adultery.


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