The Italian Almanac

Dante Alighieri

Italian News - May 12

Writers, painters, journalists, clerics and schoolchildren will be among the citizens of Florence taking to the streets today to read out Dante's Divine Comedy, symbolically re-embracing the poet the city exiled. "It's an historic event, the first mass recital of the Divine Comedy," provincial president Matteo Renzi said.

"After all these years, Florence will welcome Dante back." The historical centre has been split into three 'rings', marked out by its most famous monuments, to recite the three books that make up Dante's Divine Comedy, Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Florentines will have a copy of each of the 100 cantos to hand out to passers-by.

Florence Archbishop Ennio Antonelli will kick things off at five o'clock by intoning the opening words of the Inferno on a local radio station. He'll pass the ball on to Renzi, who will take up the first canto in the first ring stretching from Santa Maria Novella to San Marco and Santa Croce.

Among those taking part are popular TV anchorwoman Cesara Bonamici, who'll use her professional skills on one of the most famous cantos in Inferno, the tale of lovers Paolo and Francesca in Canto V.