www.florin.ms. For Dante on this website, see http://www.florin.ms/Dantevivo.html for the hypertexted Commedia with readings, images and music as well as the text, and also La Musica della Commedia on Youtube. In the following hypertext links are to the map [2D], to Americo Parrini, in C. Danyell Tassinari's translation, With Dante in Florence, and keep scrolling as there are further pages of text with much information beyond the initial ones (Florence; Giannini, 1930/IX), to the oral readings by Carlo Poli, , to the poem, INF XV. I am in the photos as we needed to measure the height of the plaques by comparison for getting an estimate for their cleaning. Click on red arrow below for soundtrack of reading.

Versione in italiano


HYPERTEXTING DANTE'S FLORENCE

  Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321, Portraits, Florence, Riccardian manuscript frontispiece; Orvieto, Luca Signorelli fresco


Imagine, or in reality, you arrive in Florence by way of Santa Maria Novella's modern station, opened in 1935, designed by the 'architect of hospitality', Giovanni Michelucci in Fascist style. In front of you you see the back side of Santa Maria Novella, the great church begun in 1276 by the Order of Preachers where Dante would have gone to hear lectures by the Dominican Friars expounding Aquinas' theology, one of whom would write a commentary on the Commedia until forbidden to do so by the Chapter in 1335 held in the Spanish Chapel when he had to stop at Paradiso XII. What follows will hypertext to Dante's Commedia, the marble plaques Florence's Comune decided on 1900 to place on buildings Dante mentioned, and the publications concerning them, Victorian photographs and engravings, and discussions in Augustus Hare's Florence, Susan and Joanna Horner's Walks in Florence. This app has many layers, the real historical one of stone buildings and flesh and blood people of 1265-1302, then of Dante's writings, his Vita nova and his Commedia, themselves layered hypertexts, written on parchment, now printed on paper,
or electronically on the Web, doing just this, layering his flesh and blood reality with his virtualized vision. Florence is not only the modern city in which to live and move and have our being in this present moment of time, but also has layers that we can peel back in its 'theatre of memory', in this case to Dante's era, before the Renaissance, before the Medici, from his birth in 1265 to his exile in 1302. This is the cityscape of his Vita nova and will be what he remembers of his neighbourhood in his dream vision in exile in the Commedia.

Next you could take the Via Cerretani leading to the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore (only its foundations begun by Arnolfo di Cambio before Dante's exile, previously it was Santa Reparata).

Throughout this app you can click on the photographs of the plaques to enlarge them, as here: 

1. Map 1C, Parrini V, Tassinari V. In Via Cerretani, on the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Oral reading 1  

     
Click to enlarge plaques

. . . IN LA MENTE M'E FITTA, E OR M'ACCORA, 
LA CARA E BVONA IMAGINE PATERNA
DI VOI, QVANDO NEL MONDO AD ORA AD ORA
M'INSEGNAVATE COME L'VOM S'ETERNA!

                                                
. . . in my mind is fixed, and touches now
My heart the dear and good paternal image
Of you when in the world from hour to hour
You taught me how a man becomes eternal.                                                        
                                                             
INF. XV.82-85
 
Before reaching the San Giovanni Piazza on  your right you see the plain Cistercian church of Santa Maria Maggiore, inside of which at the left hand side's chapel is a column marking Brunetto Latino's tomb. That tomb was originally in the Piazza San Giovanni, in the part for members of the 6/30. Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele, and moved here in 1751 by Giuseppe Maria Mazzei according to the inscription above it.

Leonardo Bruni tells us that Brunetto Latino was appointed as orphaned adolescent Dante Alighieri's legal guardian by his stepmother, Lapa, at his father Aldighiere's death. His mother, Bella degli Abati, had already died when he was about five years old. Brunetto would have educated him by having him read and copy out documents of state, now kept in the Archivio di State in Piazza Beccaria, and also his literary works, his Opere, his Tesoretto (Biblioteca Riccardiana 2908, perhaps written by Dante when he was still a boy, its Mare amoroso perhaps also his), to begin with, then his Rettorica and Tesoro, (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 42.20, perhaps written by Dante when he was more mature), the manuscripts written by Brunetto's students now in the Vatican Library, the Biblioteca Laurenziana, the Biblioteca Riccardiana and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze.

   

Then Francesco da Barberino copied the text
of Brunetto Latino's Tesoro in the 1330s in this Laurentian Library manuscript (Plut. 42.19, fol.72r), and it showed Brunetto Latino as teaching Guido Cavalcanti, Dante Alighieri, and Francesco da Barberino, following the Sicilian Vespers, where Francesco turns admiringly to gaze on Dante, all the students holding the copies they are making of the Tesoro that Brunetto is teaching them. Brunetto had gone on embassy to the court of King Alfonso X el Sabio in Spain in 1260 to get help for Florence and had there acquired texts of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Alfraganus' Astronomy, while observing this Arabic method of teaching and multiple book production. 'Ser' and 'Maestro' Brunetto taught students the texts of Cicero, Aristotle, Lucan, Alfraganus, Sallust, embedded in his Tesoro which he first wrote in first French, in 1260, during his exile after Montaperti, then translated into Italian in the 1280s-90s, training his readers and hearers in 'Buon Governo', Good Government, with integrity. Brunetto defined government as the love of God and neighbour, that the 'podestà', who was elected from a different city, and who was quartered with his judges, notaries, soldiers and servants, in the 20. Bargello, was sworn to uphold justice, to execute the City's statutes, to protect widows and orphans, merchants and pilgrims, to repair roads and bridges, to defend the citizens in war and peace, for their common prosperity.
 


PIAZZA SAN GIOVANNI

Now we come to the beautiful square of San Giovanni with its 2. Cross of San Zenobio, 3. Baptistery, 4. Cathedral (then Santa Reparata), 5. Giotto Tower, not built before Dante's exile, 6. Compagnia dei Laudesi of Orsanmichele's Cemetery (no longer visible apart from the Annunciation sculpture), 7. Misericordia, and the Opera del Duomo Museum. Florentines call their Cathedral, rebuilt in the Renaissance as Santa Maria del Fiore, instead of dedicated to Santa Reparata, the Duomo, and its great dome, the Cupolone. This cluster of architectural monuments from Dante's Florence and later show its ecclesiastical center, its aspect of the Church, of the Christian religion, though the energy for their creation derives more from the laity than from the clergy. Like Italy's modern Constitution, Florence was based on work, the various guilds involved in banking and textiles, coming together as the Arte de' Giudici e Notai (judges and  notaries of which Brunetto was a member), Arte di Calimala (Mercatanti, cloth merchants), Arte della Lana (wool), Arte di Cambio (banking), Arte della Sete (silk), Arte dei Medici e Speziali (doctors and spice merchants of which Dante became a member), Arte dei Vaiai e Pelliciaiai (fur and leather), of which the Arte della Lana was involved with the building of the Duomo, the Arte di Calimala with the Baptistery and San Miniato and the Arte della Seta with the later Hospital of the Innocents, their occupations shown in the sculptures on the 5. Giotto Tower, while all the Guilds collaborated and competed to build and adorn 30. Orsanmichele.



2. Cross of San Zenobio. Saint Zenobius, in the legend, was the Bishop of Florence, whose coffin, when it was brought from the church dedicated to St Lawrence, San Lorenzo, founded by Milan's Saint Ambrose, to Santa Reparata, touched a dead elm tree in the piazza which came to life again, this cross raised in its memory. Every year its base is adorned with red and white roses. Another medieval cross, the Trebbio, can be found at the meeting of three streets near Santa Maria Novella. Florence has many such customs, rituals and monuments carried on from medieval times through to the present.

  


ST JOHN'S BAPTISTERY

3. The Baptistery

Here, beside the Duomo of Florence, is its ancient octagonal Baptistery, which Dante and Villani both believed had been originally a Temple dedicated to the pagan god of war, Mars. Here, on Holy Saturday, 27 March. 1266, Dante was baptized and would have seen the beginnings of these mosaics.

Map 1D, Parrini VII, Tassinari VII. In Piazza San Giovanni, al BATTISTERO. Oral reading 33

. . . NEL MIO BEL SAN GIOVANNI

. . . in my beautiful St. John. 
                                                                           
INF XIX.17


   
What the baby Dante would have seen at his Baptism that Easter Saturday, 3 April 1266, much of the mosaic work already in place, though not yet the exterior work in white and green marble. He notes, too, in Paradiso XV.133 that his ancestor, his crusading great grandfather, was also baptized there. The Holy Saturday liturgy included the Psalm 113, In Exitu Israel de Aegypto  (here we hear the Ensemble San Felice sing the psalm, with its unique tonus peregrinus, which Dante spoke of in the Convivio and which he says in the Letter to Can Grande is the entire allegory of the Commedia), where Dante has the 100 pilgrims sing in unison in Purgatorio II after Virgil baptizes him with water and girds or crowns him with a rush, the Red Sea being called Ram Suf, the Sea of Rushes. He dates the Commedia from Good Friday through Easter Week, 1300, and has his baptism reflected twice over in Purgatorio I, when Cato has Virgil baptize him, and again in Purgatorio XXXI, when Matelda drags him through the waters. Dante, when adult, he tells us, once broke one of the side fonts to rescue a drowning child, Inferno XIX.16, a piece of this in the Museo Opera del Duomo.

   
British Library, MS Egerton 843, Purgatorio I and Purgatorio XXXI

Map 1D, Parrini XXXI, Tassinari XXXI. In Piazza San Giovanni, al BATTISTERO.  Oral reading 34 ♫ 



SE MAI CONTINGA CHE 'L POEMA SACRO
AL QVALE HA POSTO MANO E CIELO E TERRA
SI CHE M'HA FATTO PER PIV ANNI MACRO,
   VINCA LA CRVDELTA' CHE FVOR MI SERRA
DEL BELLO OVILE, OV'IO DORMI' AGNELLO
NIMICO A' LVPI, CHE GLI DANNO GVERRA,
   CON ALTRA VOCE OMAI, CON ALTRO VELLO
RITORNERO' POETA, ED IN SVL FONTE
DEL MIO BATTESMO PRENDERO' IL CAPELLO.

 
If e'er it happens that the Poem Sacred
To which both heaven and earth have set their hand,
So that it many a year hath made me lean,
O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out
From the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,
An enemy to the wolves that war upon it.
With other voice forthwith, with other fleece
Poet will I return, and at my font
Baptismal will I take the crown.
                                                                               
PAR XXV. 1-9  
 

The stone by the Baptistery, humbly on the ground, is now dirty and cracked, like the black one on the Confession Gate in Purgatorio IX. I have a restorer trained in our English Cemetery in Florence in how to clean and restore marble tombs and inscriptions, who could have done this work in time for the Dante Anniversary. He has already made two facsimiles of the Libro del Chiodo, one given to the Museo Casa di Dante, the other to be given to the Società Dante Alighieri, and has helped restore Donatello's pulpit in Prato.





    


The Baptistery's mosaics include Coppo di Marcovaldo's enormous figure of Satan with three mouths devouring three sinners, which become the figure of Satan devouring Judas, Brutus and Cassius in Inferno XXXIV. Dante began his project of writing the Commedia with his dream of imperial peace for Florentine factions to be wrought by the Emperor Henry VI of Luxembourg, hopes dashed with Henry's death of fever in 1313. But this had led him to the choice of imperial Virgil as poet guide, rather than Brunetto's republican Cicero. It also led him to assign Brutus and Cassius as traitors to imperial Caesar, the contrary of Michelangelo's sculpture of Brutus (to be seen in the 20. Bargello Museum), considered a virtuous Republican assassin of the tyranny of the princely Medici. "Put not your trust in princes!" See also Augustus Hare's Florence, Susan and Joanna Horner's Walks in Florence.


SANTA REPARATA/SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE

4. You now come to the Duomo, begun by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296, the Misericordia workers laying the first stone, and which was finished by Brunelleschi in 1436. But in Dante's day it had been this church, Santa Reparata, with the Baptistery beside it. See Hare's Florence.  




On Maundy Thursday, the day on which Inferno I opens as if on 1300, the liturgy within Santa Reparata, and now in the Duomo, would have been the procession with the great olive-branched cross and the bearers of candles, taking the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose under a golden canopy with four great candles, these born by Misericordia workers whose feet have been washed by the Bishop at Cena Domini Mass. If you are in Florence at Easter attend this Mass, participating in its great procession around the huge cathedral labyrinth. Dante will create of this the procession in the Earthly Paradise in Purgatorio which Dante Pilgrim believes first are olive trees but which turn out to be candles, followed by Beatrice in her chariot, Purgatorio XXIX.

In 1322 Dante's fellow student, Francesco da Barberino, commissioned Tino da Camaino to sculpt the tomb of the Bishop Antonio D'Orso for Florence's Cathedral, these documents, speaking of "dominus Franciscus". It's on the wall your right as you enter from the front. The tomb uses the motif much beloved by Francesco da Barberino, of Death, elsewhere also of Love, as having two bows from which he shoots arrows at us.

 
Tomb of Bishop Antonio D'Orso by Tino da Camaino, commissioned by Francesco da Barberino
Death as archer with two bows

At the completion of Brunelleschi's dome in 1436, Guillaume Dufay's motet, Nuper Rosarum flores, was sung, evoking, as does the Cathedral's dedication, Santa Maria del Fiore, Dante's Rose. Inside the Duomo on its left wall is this later painting, showing Florence as it became then, painted in 1465 by Domenico di Michelino where Dante preaches to Florence as her prophet, the three gates of Hell, of Purgatory and of Florence, all like those built by Arnolfo da Cambio, while Mount Purgatory is a composite of Fiesole's Monte Ceceri with its galleries mined for pietra serena, a grey porous sandstone (now hidden by the cypresses planted by Victorian Englishmen) and of Mount Sinai, similarly with terraces at which the monks of St Catherine's Monastery heard pilgrims' confessions.

 
Confession gate on Sinai        Sinai, David Roberts    

5. The Giotto Tower was built after Dante's exile from Florence.

6.
The tomb of Brunetto Latino, Dante's teacher, was originally among the tombs that had littered the Piazza San Giovanni, as described by Boccaccio concering Guido Cavalcante in the Decameron VI.ix, and by George Eliot in Romola, those of the members of the Compagnia dei laudesi of Orsanmichele being grouped beneath the sculpture of the Annunciation, formerly on the exterior wall of Santa Reparata, now on the Duomo wall by the Giotto Tower. Brunetto's Tesoretto and Tesoro are used by Dante throughout the Commedia, and these sculptures figure in Purgatorio X.
 

Giroldo da Como, Annunciation, for the tombs of the Orsanmichele Compagnia dei Laudesi that were in the Piazza San Giovanni.


Arnolfo di Cambio, Annunciation, formerly in Santa Maria Maggiore. Florence's New Year began at the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, considered also the date of the Creation of the World and the Crucifixion of Christ. Dante similarly dates his magnum opus, the Commedia, as initiating at that date, 25 March 1300, as if on Good Friday, conjoining Death and Conception. Beatrice had died in 1290, at the time of the loss of the Jerusalem Kingdom, the Fall of Saint Jean d'Acre taking place in 1291, events which colour the Vita nova with grief. Guido Cavalcanti was to die in August, 1300, in consequence of Dante's sentencing of both Corso Donati, his enemy, and Guido Cavalcanti, his friend, to exile because of their feuding. Dino Compagni in his Cronica, I.20, describes the feuding, Guido going on pilgrimage to Compostela, Corso seeking to assassinate him, Guido on returning to Florence retaliating. The Vita nova and the Commedia are as if poetic elegies to Beatrice and to Guido.

Boccaccio's Sixth Day, ninth story, of the Decameron, describes Guido Cavalcanti, Dante's friend and fellow poet, ten years his elder, as vaulting over the tombs by San Giovanni to escape members of the Black Guelfs taunting him:

"Now one day, Guido had walked from 30. Orsanmichele along the Corso degli 12. Adimari [via Calzaiuoli] as far as 3. San Giovanni, which was a favourite walk of his because it took him past those great marble sarcophagi, now to be found in Santa Reparata, and the numerous other graves that lie all around San Giovanni. As he was threading his way among the tombs, between the porphyry columns that stand in that spot and the door of San Giovanni, which was locked, Messer Betto and his friends came riding through the piazza of Santa Reparata, and on seeing Guido among all the tombs they said, "Let's go and torment him." And so, spurring their horses and making a mock charge, they were upon him almost before he had time to notice, and they began to taunt him, saying: "Guido, you spurn our company: but supposing you find that God doesn't exist, what good will it do you?" Finding himself surrounded, Guido promptly replied: "Gentlemen, in your own house you may say whatever you like to me". Then placing a hand on one of the tombstones, which were very tall, he vaulted over the top of it, being very light and nimble, and landed on the other side, whence, having escaped from their clutches, he proceeded on his way."



George Eliot in her historical novel Romola, set in the time of Savonarola, similarly described the tombs that once littered the Piazza San Giovanni. Giovanni Villani had told of the two porphyry columns Pisa gave Florence but which they burnt first so they could no longer foretell the future.

THE MISERICORDIA
7a. The Bigallo/Misericordia. The Bigallo Museum was originally part of the Misericordia, and its fresco of the Madonna della Misericordia, later than Dante's time, presents the city of Florence and her citizens sheltered under the Madonna's cloak, which in turn is embroidered with the Seven Acts of Mercy. The Libro del Biadaiolo, written for 30. Orsanmichele, now Laurentian Library, Tempe 3, and the Polyptich of Saint Umiltà in the Uffizi also show medieval Florence in Dante's time, while the Domenico di Michelino is painted later when the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore was built. See Hare, Florence, Horner, Walks in Florence.

     
Bigallo, Madonna della Misericordia 

       
Libro del Biadaiolo                           Pietro Lorenzetti, St Umiltà, Uffizi   Arnolfian architecture of Florence is also Commedia's

The Madonna of Mercy, the Bigallo, formerly the MISERICORDIA, with the Seven Acts of Mercy, 1. Feed the Hungry, 2. Give drink to the Thirsty, 3. Clothe the Naked, 4. Shelter the Stranger, 5. Visit the Sick 6. Visit the Prisoner, 7. Bury the Dead. In this tour you will see the First Act of Mercy, to Feed the Hungry, with 30. Orsanmichele, the granary to feed even the enemy in time of famine; the Fifth Act of Mercy to Care for the Sick, including pilgrims, with Santa Maria Nuova Hospital and the Oblate nursing order, founded by Folco Portinari, Beatrice's father, and Monna Tessa, her nurse; the Sixth Act of Mercy, to visit the prisoner, with the later Buonuomini di San Martino, visiting and ransoming the prisoners in the Stinche; and the Seventh Act of Mercy (not in Matthew's Gospel), to Bury the Dead, with the Misericordia caring for the sick, the dying, the dead. These Seven Acts of Mercy will also be frescoed in the little San Martino dei Buonuomini church next to Dante's house by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

7b. The Misericordia built for themselves a different building to the left of the Bigallo, the other side of the Via Calzaiuoli. See Hare, Florence.

 Map 1D. In Piazza del Duomo, 20. MISERICORDIA, placed later than the others, in 1954, Oral reading 32

   


VERGINE MADRE, FIGLIA DEL TUO FIGLIO
UMILE E ALTA PIU CHE CREATURA
TERMINE FISSO D'ETERNO CONSIGLIO

TU SE' COLEI CHE L'UMANA NATURA
NOBILITASTI SÌ, CHE IL SUO FATTORE
NON DISDEGNÒ DI FARSI SUA FATTURA.

NEL VENTRE TUO SI RACCESE L'AMORE
PER LO CUI CALDO NELL'ETERNA PACE
COSÌ È GERMINATO QUESTO FIORE

        ANNO MARIANO MCMLIV

                                                                           
PAR XXXIII.1-9

The Misericordia members for over 700 years carried the sick and dying and buried the dead, while wearing black gowns and hoods covering their faces except for eye holes, now prohibited, but which I still saw in the Sixties. They run the free ambulances you see parked outside the Duomo.

 
The Plague, 1600, with Misericordia workers carrying the sick, the dying, and the dead.

 
 


If you visit the Museo Opera del Duomo, you will see how Michelangelo sculpted his self portrait in the Pietà (formerly in the Duomo), as Nicodemus, showing himself as hooded like a Misericordia member, helping bury the dead Christ.

  


There you will also see the Arnolfo di Cambio sculptures that had been on its facade, one of them of the Dormition of the Virgin, showing Christ tenderly taking up the soul of his Mother, as a girl child, which illustrates perfectly Paradiso's XXXIII's 'Vergina Madre, Figlia del tuo Figlio' 'Virgin Mother, Daughter of your Son'. Oderisi, mentioned by Dante in Purgatorio X, also shows this scene.

   



SANTA MARIA NUOVA HOSPITAL

8. Santa Maria Nuova Hospital.  Now take the Via dell' Oriolo, turn left at Via Folco Portinari, and ahead of you is the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital. The Oblate building (now the Oblate library), in front of it housed the women's charitable order founded in 1288 by Beatrice's nurse, Monna Tessa, while Beatrice's father, Folco Portinari founded the hospital, still in use. The women nurses used a tunnel to reach the hospital from their convent with its great laundries. Florence Nightingale, born in Bellosguardo above Florence, would use their model for her institution of hospitals with nurses. Sarah Parker Remond, the first woman M.D., an Afro-American Abolitonist friend of Frederick Douglass, came to study medicine here with a letter from Giuseppe Mazzini in 1876-1878. We recall Dante's Vita Nova and its accounts of the deaths of both the banker Folco Portinari, 31 December 1289, and his daughter Beatrice (married to Simone de' Bardi), 12 June 1290, perhaps in childbirth.

The Hospital in the Middle Ages
      

The Hospital in the Renaissance and today
   


You can now continue down the Via Sant'Egidio from the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital until on your right you see an arch way.

  

9. Go through this to find yourself in the square of San Piero Maggiore. The former church façade, now an arch is to your left.

  

The medieval towers on your right are those of the Donati and Albizzi families. This square and its history of violence can explain why Dante came to be exiled from this city.
We need at this point to give an overview of that history. The land-owning noble Ghibellines, prone to blood shed and violence and lacking much education, built tall towers such as these, in fact far taller, feuding in street gang warfare against each other, both in Florence and in Rome. In 1250 the Guelf party in Florence, comprised of merchants and bankers, ousted them, sending them away into exile into the countryside where they continued to build towers and became robber barons. Meanwhile in Florence the merchant Guelfs sought peace and prosperity, levelling the Ghibelline towers to a lower height and using the excess stone to have Arnolfo di Cambio build the walls of common defense from them. The Guelfs and their Notaio/Chancellor, Brunetto Latino, modelled this new government on Cicero and other Roman writers of the Roman Republic, and on the concept of the love of God and neighbour from the Gospel, creating of Florence a Republican Commonwealth, the "Primo Popolo". Then the disastrous ambush of the Florentine Guelf forces at Montaperti in 1260 by King Manfred and the Ghibellines, ended in the exile of the Guelfs until the victorious Battles of Benevento and Tagliacozzo under their elected champion, the avaricious and belligerent Count Charles of Anjou and Provence. The 1280 Peace of Cardinal Latino, working against Charles' tyranny, next allied Guelf and Ghibelline families in Florence, with peace-weaving marriages between them, for instance, with Ghibelline Farinata degli Uberti's daughter, named Beatrice, being wed to Guelf Cavalcanti's son, Guido, for which see Inferno X. To further stabilize Florence, Giano Della Bella proclaimed the Ordinaments of Justice, 3 July 1292, which prohibited blood feuding on pain of exile and death, the Podestà with the Gonfalone or Banner of Justice, arriving at the scene with his armed band to arrest the perpetrators and end the violence.

      
Villani, Pacino di Bonaguida, Giano Della Bella     Florence's Banner of Justice, English Cemetery

Now we come to the history of Dante's in-laws, the Donati family, his wife, Gemma Donati, from a different branch, to whom he was bethrothed when still a teenager, who bore him four children, James, John, Peter and Antonia. Distantly, he was also related to the three children of the knight Simone Donati who lived in this square, Corso, Forese and Piccarda, until she became a nun in a Clarissan convent the other side of the Arno, these family members each referenced by Dante in the cantiche of the Commedia. He and Forese Donati had earlier written scurrilous tenzoni, debate poems against each other and then he imagines that he meets Forese in Purgatorio XXIII. He poignantly imagines meeting with Piccarda, whom Corso Donati snatched from her convent, forcing her marriage and making her break her Vows to God, in Paradiso III, in the sphere of the inconstant moon. Her monastery is in Oltrarno, the other side of the Arno river and up narrow streets at Monticelli. Maria Grazia Beverini Del Santo wrote an excellent book about her convent, founded by St Clare's sister who was given St Francis' saio, his shabby habit.

 
Maria Grazia Beverini Del Santo, Piccarda Donati nella storia del Monastero di Monticelli (Firenze: Pagliai, 2007).

Dante alluded to Corso shadowily in the Commedia, in Purgatorio XXIV.82-87 where he describes him as dismembered from being dragged by a horse at San Salvi after escaping the enraged Florentine populace from this square, 6 October 1308. Belligerent handsome Corso fought well in Florentine battles, his career consisting of martial political offices, being hired as the mercenary podestà to such cities as Pistoia, Parma and Treviso, while at home he became the tyrannical leader of the Black Guelf faction, even releasing criminals from prison who would support him. Dante, when Prior, 15 June-15 August 1300, had to exile both Corso Donati, his Black Guelf enemy, and Guido Cavalcanti, his White Guelf friend and fellow poet, under Giano Della Bella's Ordinaments of Justice, resulting tragically in Guido's death from fever that August and in Corso's undying enmity, for which he, in turn, had Dante exiled in 1302. Giovanni Villani and Dino Compagni call Corso Donati a new 'Catiline' after the handsome violent noble traitor to Cicero and the Roman Replublic, while Pacino di Bonaguida, who also illustrated copies of the Commedia, showed that mayhem in the Vatican manuscript of Giovanni Villani's Nuova Cronica, first the scene of Corso freeing the criminals from the Stinche (the prison formerly in Via Ghibellina, towards Santa Croce), breaking down its one narrow door, and second, his death beyond the walls of the city.

  

The only door to the massive Stinche prison built from the stones of the Ghibelline Tower of the family of Farinata degli Uberti and begun in 1300 was called 'Porta della Miseria'. Ghirlandaio later frescoed it as the sixth of the Seven Acts of Mercy, to visit the prisoner, where he shows the Buonuomino of San Martino, who later met in the little church beside Dante's home, as ransoming prisoners. Dante may be recalling its door with his Gate to Inferno III.

The 1216 strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti, 9. Uberti and 14. Donati families gave birth to the Ghibelline and Guelf vendettas in Florence. Against which Brunetto Latino so carefully taught his students in the Tesoretto.



Beyond the map. In Piazza San Salvi, on the church, with the stemma of Florence and of the Donati, in reference to Corso Donati and his violence.
Oral reading 9

    

"Or va", diss'el, "chè quei che più n'ha colpa,
    vegg'io a coda d'una bestia tratto
    inver la valle oue mai non si scolpa.
La bestia ad ogni passo va più ratto
    crescendo sempre, finch'ella il percuote,
    e lascia il corpo vilmente disfatto.

"Now go", said he, for him who is most in fault
I see dragged at the tail of a beast,
towards the vale where sin is never cleansed.
Faster goes the beast at every step,
increasing ever till it dashes him,
and leaves his body hideously disfigured.
                                                                                    
PURG XXIV. 81-86

Now walk up the Borgo degli Albizzi until you come to the Via del Proconsolo. Turn right on the Via del Proconsolo, then take the first left to come to the Via dell'Oche.  We will now walk boustrophedon (like oxen ploughing a field back and forth) up the Via dell' Oche, towards the Via Calzaiuoli (stockingmakers), then down the Corso towards the Via del Proconsolo again to the 20. Bargello, the 21. Badia and up the Via Dante Alighieri and Via Tavolini to 30. Orsanmichele. Dante, in Paradiso XVI discourses with his crusading Florentine ancestor Cacciaguidi about their city, remembering together its narrow streets of the old centre and all these neighbours, as one does in dreams, as Joyce was to do, also in exile, with his city of Dublin, in Ulysses. In the following we present the buildings, also the stemma and the verses in marble plaques attached to them by decision of the city in 1900. They now badly need cleaning and many are illegible, some are lost.

10.
Map 1D. In via delle Oche. Oral reading 29

Not found

. . . NON DEE PARER MIRABIL COSA
CIO CH'IO DIRO DELLI ALTRI FIORENTINI,
ONDE E LA FAMA NEL TEMPO NASCOSA

                                                                      
PAR XVI.85-87


11. Map 1D, Parrini XXI, Tassinari XXI. In Via della Oche, 20 rosso, on your right, on the remains of the Visdomini tower, Dante's lines mentioning their little church, now in the shadow of the great Duomo. Oral reading 30

    



                   VISDOMINI
COSI FACEAN I PADRI DI COLORO
CHE, SEMPRE CHE LA CHIESA VOSTRA - VACA,
SI FANNO GRASSI, STANDO A CONSISTORO.


So likewise did the ancestors of those
Who evermore, when vacant is your church,
Fatten by staying in consistory
                                                                      
PAR XVI.112-114


12. Map 1D, Parrini XXII, Tassinari XXII. In Via delle Oche, 19, on your left, where the Adimari palace stood. Oral reading 31

 

L'OLTRACOTATA SCHIATTA CHE S'INDRACA
DIETRO A CHI FUGGE, E A CUI MOSTRA IL DENTE
O VER LA BORSA, COM'AGNEL, SI PLACA.
                            ADIMARI


The insolent race that like a dragon, follows
Whoever flees,  and smite him that shows
His teeth or purse is gentle as a lamb.
                                                             
PAR XVI.115-117

We now come to the Via Calzaiuoli (the stocking makers' street), where you turn left to come to the modern Piazza della Repubblica, built during the Risorgimento, doing so tearing down much of medieval Florence and, almost, the beautiful 30. Orsanmichele. Next we turn left again down Via Speziali (spice sellers, etc.), which will become Via Corso.
 

13. Map 1C, Parrini XVI, Tassinari XVI. Walk to your left until you reach the Piazza della Reppublica, turning left again in Via degli Speziali, 11 rosso, to find on your right, where the Alighieri palace once  stood. This street becames the Corso, so named from the race that was run down it. Oral reading 27

 

GLI ANTICHI MIEI ED IO NACQVI NEL LOCO
DOVE SI TRVOVA PRIA L'VLTIMO SESTO
DA QVEL CHE CORRE IL VOSTRO ANNVAL GIVOCO.


My ancestors and I our birthplace had
Where first is found the last ward of the city
By him who runneth in your annual game.
                                                                      
PAR XVI.40-42

14. Map 1D, Parrini XII, Tassinari XII. In Via del Corso, 31, rosso, on the remains of the Donati tower. Oral reading 25

 

                            DONATI
. . . IL LVOGO, V' FVI A VIVER POSTO
DI GIORNO IN GIORNO PIV' DI BEN SI SPOLPA,
ED A TRISTA RVINA PAR DISPOSTO.
  . . . QVEI CHE PIV' N'HA COLPA
VEGG'IO A CODA D'VNA BESTIA TRATTO
IN VER LA VALLE OVE MAI NON SI SCOLPA".


The place where I was set to live
From day to day of good is more depleted
And unto dismal ruin seems ordained
. . .him most guilty of it
At a beast's tial behold I dragged along
Towards the valley where is no repentance.
                                                                      
PURG XXIV.79-84

Here, just before this plaque on the Donati tower, we also find the arch to the Piazza de' Donati, where Dante probably played as a boy. Now, with Covid, it is where you can dine under the stars at the Trattoria Il Pennello. We were reading the Commedia and the Vita nova there, then having supper. And yes, that's my bicycle, partly in the foto.

  

15. The next arch leads you to the church on your left dedicated to St Margaret de' Cerchi, where Beatrice's Portinari family worshipped, Dante's family instead going to the church dedicated to 25. St. Martin.


    

The church of Santa Margherita dei Cerchi (dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, patron saint of childbirth), is just down the street from the fake 25. Dante House and Museo Casa di Dante. It is where Beatrice Portinari was married at twenty to Simone dei Bardi in 1286. She died four years later, 8 June 1290, and would have been buried with the dei Bardi family in Santa Croce, while the Portinari tombs, including that of her father Folco and her nurse Monna Tessa, were in this small church, Folco's and Monna Tessa's tomb now being at Santa Maria Nuova Hospital.
 
Then turn back again to via del Corso.

16. Map 1D, Parrini I, Tassinari I. In Via del Corso, 18, where the Adimari palace stood. Oral reading 26

 

                      CAVICCIVLLI

TVTTI GRIDAVANO -A FILIPPO ARGENTI!-
E'L FIORENTINO SPIRITO BIZZARRO
IN SÈ MEDESMO SI VOLVEA CO' DENTI.


They all were shouting, "at Filippo Argenti!"
And that exasperate spirit Florentine
Turned round upon himself with his own teeth.
                                                                      
INF VIII.61-63

17. Map 1D, Parrini XIII, Tassinari XIII. In Via del Corso, 6, on your left, where the Portinari palace stood. Oral reading 24

Folco Portinari, Beatrice's banker father, founded the hospital of 9. Santa Maria Nuova, while her nurse, Monna Tessa, founded the adjacent Order of the Oblate, who nursed the sick and dying there, while the Misericordia by the Duomo carried the sick and the dying and buried the dead, Michelangelo showing himself as such a Misericordia worker in the Pietà now in the Opera del Duomo but formerly in the Cathedral. Dante earlier had celebrated the family in his Vita nova. This plaque describes Beatrice's appearance to him in Purgatorio XXX, in the colours that would become Italy's national flag at the Risorgimento. Just before the plaque is the entrance to the Palazzo Portinari-Salviati where you can have a coffee and admire its later embellishments.

   

                      PORTINARI

SOVRA CANDIDO VEL , CINTA D'ULIVA,
DONNA M'APPARVE SOTTO VERDE MANTO
VESTITA DEL COLOR DI FIAMMA VIVA.


Over her snow-white veil with olive cinct
Appeared a lady under a green mantle
Vested in colour of the living flame.
                                                           
PURG XXX.31-33

18. Map 1D, Parrini XV, Tassinari XV. In Via del Corso, Via del Proconsolo, to your right, where the Ravignani palace stood. Oral reading 22

 

BELLINCION BERTI VID'IO ANDAR CINTO
DI CVOIO E D'OSSO, E VENIR DALLO SPECCHIO
LA DONNA SVA SANZA IL VISO DIPINTO.


Bellincion Berti saw I go begirt
With leather and with bone, and from the mirror
His dame depart without a painted face.
                                                                 
PAR XV.112-114

19. Map 1D, Parrini XVII, Tassinari XVII. In Via del Corso, 4 rosso, on your left, where the Cerchi palace stood. Oral reading 23

 

LA PORTA, CH'AL PRESENTE E CARCA
DI NUOVA FELLONIA, DI TANTO PESO,
CHE TOSTO FIA IATTVRA DELLA BARCA.

. . . the gate that is at present laden
With a new felony of so much weight
That soon it shall be jetsam from the bark.
                                                                    
PAR XVI. 94-96


THE BARGELLO, PALACE OF THE PODESTA'
20. Now we turn into the Via del Proconsolo. On our left we come to the Bargello, then the Palace of the Podestà. the hired outsider under contract for a limited term of office (like the American President), who had to swear to uphold and administer the Constitution, the Statutes, bringing with him soldiers, lawyers and judges, with which to administer justice, prevent crime, mend roads and bridges, and care for widows and orphans. This part of the city of Florence with the 20. Bargello, 23. Torre della Castagna, and 40. Palazzo Vecchio, then called the Palazzo del Popolo, is dedicated to its government, the State, rather than the Church, to Justice, complemented by Mercy. See Hare, Florence.


 


In 1255 the Primo Popolo of the City of Florence pridefully placed this plaque [Map 2D] on the front wall of the BARGELLO, Richard Mac Cracken discovering that it was written by Dante's teacher, Brunetto Latino, taking the words from Lucan. That pride would be undone at the Battle of Montaperti, 1260, and Brunetto exiled in Spain and France, though Dante's parents, being relatively poor and unimportant, remained in Florence where he would be born six years later.

+SUMMALEXANDER S[AN]C[TU]SQUE[M] MVNDVS ADORAT
CV[M] PASTOR MV[N]DI REGNABA[N]T REX[QVE] GVIELMVS.
ET CV[M] VIR SPLENDE[N]S ORNATVS NOBILITATE
DE MEDIOLANO DE TVRRI SIC ALAMANNVS
VRBEM FLORENTE[M] GAVDENTI CORDE REGEBAT
MENIA TVNC FECIT VIR CO[N]STA[N]S ISTA FVTVRIS.
QVI PREERAT P[O]P[V]LO FLORENTI BARTHOLOMEVS
MA[N]TVA QVEM GENVIT COGNOMINE DENVVVLONO
FVLGENTE[M] SENSV CLARV[M] PROBITATE REFVLTUM
QUE[M] SIGNA[N]T AQVILE REDDV[N]T SVA SIGNA DECORVM
INSIGNVM P[O]P[V]LI QUOD CO[N]FERT GAVDIA VITE
ILLIS QVI CVPIVNT VRBEM CONSVRGERE CELO



QVAM FOVEAT [CHRISTV]S CO[N]SERVET FEDERE PACIS
EST QVIA CV[N]CTORUM FLORENTIA PLENA BONORV[M].
HOSTES DEVICIT BELLO MAGNO[QUE] TVMVLTV
GAVDET FORTVNA SIGNIS POPVLO[QUE] POTENTI
FIRMAT EMIT FERVENS STERNIT NV[N]C CASTRA SALVTE
QVE MARE QVE TERRA[M] QUE TOTV[M] POSSIDET ORBEM.
PER QVAM REGNANTE[M] FIT FELIX TVSCIA TOTA
TA[M]QUA[M] ROMA SEDET SEMPER DVCTVRA TRIVMPHOS.
OMNIA DISCERNIT CERTO SVB IVRE CONHERCENS
ANNIS MILLENIS BIS CENTVM STANTIBUS ORBE
PENTA DECEM IVNCTIS [CHRIST]I SVB NOMINE QVIN[QUE]
CUM TRINA DECIMA TVNC TE[M]PORIS INDITIONE.


which Dante will echo in the Ulysses canto, Inferno XXVI
 

Godi, Fiorenza, poi che se' sì grande                   1
   che per mare e per terra batti l'ali,
   e per lo 'nferno tuo nome si spande!

                                           

ASF, Libro di Montaperti, fol. 33r        Vatican Library, L.VIII.296, fol. 92r, Villani, Nuova Cronica, Montaperti

Brunetto Latino. before leaving for Spain, wrote pages in his own hand in the Libro di Montaperti, which is now kept in the Florentine State Archives along with the Libro del Chiodo. The Giovanni Villani, Nuova Cronica, manuscript is illuminated by Pacino di Bonguida who would also illuminate manuscripts of the Commedia for Francesco da Barberino.

THE BOOK OF THE NAIL

THE BOOK OF EXILE


Dante will metamorphose this book of exile, the 1302 Libro del Chiodo, the Book of his Exile, into the Commedia, the Book of Pilgrimage, just as had also Brunetto converted the Libro di Montapeti into the the Tesoretto, the Livres dou Tresor and the Tesoro. The Libro del Chiodo, formerly kept in the Bargello, now in the Archivio di Stato in Piazza Beccaria, proclaimed exile and even death to those White Guelfs it named, Dante Alighieri being so listed three times.

3 July 1292 Giano Della Bella’s Ordinaments of Justice. Miracles of the Virgin in 30. Orsanmichele’s tabernacle begin, Guido Cavalcanti writing about them in his sonnet.

1295 Dante’s membership in the Arte de’ Medici e Speziali.

15 June-15 August 15 1300, Dante is one of Florence’s Priors in the 23. Torre della Castagna, near 30. Orsanmichele. These Priors, according to the Ordinaments of Justice, have to exile Corso Donati and Guido Cavalcanti, who dies in August of malaria.

We need at this point to give an overview of the history of Dante's Florence. The land-owning noble Ghibellines, prone to blood shed and violence and lacking much education, built tall towers, feuding in gang warfare against each other, both in Florence and in Rome. In 1250 the Guelf party in Florence, comprised of merchants and bankers, ousted them, sending them away into exile into the countryside where they continued to build towers and became robber barons. Meanwhile in Florence the Guelfs sought peace and prosperity, levelling the Ghibelline towers and using the excess stone to have Arnolfo di Cambio build the walls of common defense from them. The Guelfs and their Notaio/Chancellor, Brunetto Latino, modelled their government on Cicero and other Roman writers, and on the concept of the love of God and neighbour from the Gospel, creating of Florence a Republican Commonwealth, the "Primo Popolo". The disastrous ambush of the Florentine Guelf forces at Montaperti in 1260 by King Manfred and the Ghibellines, ended in exile for the Guelfs until the victorious Battles of Benevento and Tagliacozzi under their elected champion, the avaricious and belligerent Count Charles of Anjou and Provence. The 1280 Peace of Cardinal Latino, working against Charles' tyranny, allied Guelf and Ghibelline families in Florence, with peace-weaving marriages between them, for instance, with Ghibelline Farinata degli Uberti's daughter, named Beatrice, being wed to Guelf Cavalcanti's son, Guido, Inferno X. To further stabilize Florence, Giano Della Bella proclaimed the Ordinaments of Justice, 3 July 1292, which prohibited blood feuding on pain of exile and death, the Podestà with the Gonfalone or Banner of Justice, arriving at the scene with his armed band to arrest the perpetrators and end the violence.

 

The Ordinaments of Justice also required participants in government to be members of trade guilds, having a commercial livelihood, that they participate in its prosperity, rather than being land-holding feuding nobility. Dante, in order to participate in government, enrolled in 1295 in a guild for medical doctors and spice merchants, the Arte de' Medici e Speziali, whose stemma or coat of arms was of the Madonna and Child. This guild was also responsible for the production of manuscripts, written on parchment, illuminated with pigments and bound with leather and metal. Dante, from the 15th of June to the 15th of August 1300, served as one of the six Priors, required by the Ordinaments of Justice to live together for two months in the 23
. Torre della Castagna, removed from corruption, and to adjudicate in cases of violence. Meanwhile the Guelf party had fractalled into the Black Guelfs, who became like the violent noble Ghibellines, as opposed to the White Guelfs who maintained the Guelf tradition as the party for republican peace and prosperity. During his tenure his great friend, the fellow White Guelf Guido Cavalcanti and their great enemy, the violent black Guelf Corso Donati came to blows and Dante was constrained to pass sentence of exile on both of them. As a result Guido died of fever contracted during that exile to Sarsana on his return in August while Corso never forgave Dante for his exile, causing Dante's in turn to be lifelong. Dante's wife, Gemma Donati, distantly related to Corso Donati, remained in Florence, while their children, James, John, Peter and Antonia, joined their father in exile in the Veneto, where James and Peter would write commentaries to their father's Commedia and Antonia would become a Clarissan nun, taking the name, "Beatrice", in Ravenna.

Enrico Giannini (the Giannini family have been bookbinders in Florence for five generations) and Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu (whose grandfather was the top coppersmith in his part of Romania) together created the facsimile of the cover of the infamous Book of the Nail, the Libro del Chiodo, now in the Florentine State Archives, in which Dante is, three times, condemned to exile or to be burned at the stake if he returns to Florence. This binding contains the facsimile edition edited by Francesca Klein of the Florentine State Archives, published by the Edizioni Polistampa in 2004. It is on display in the Museo Casa di Dante, while another copy is in the English Cemetery and will be given to the Società Dantesca Italiana. The original which we saw is now in the Archivio di Stato in Piazza Beccaria. The Libro del Chiodo, Francesca Klein explains, was formerly kept in the Bargello.

Facsimile of the cover. The nail is fixed to the back of the cover.







Front cover

Page 4  1302 'Dante Alleghieri de sextu Sancti Petri Maioris' is condemned to two years' of exile, for the crime of barratry ('super baracteriis, iniquis extorsionibus et lucris illicitis').






Pagina 15  'Dante Allighierii'



Page 147  'De sextu Porte Sancti Petri  Dante Alleghierij'



The Libro del Chiodo (Book of the Nail), Francesca Klein observes, was kept in the Bargello, the city's prison and the seat of the Podestà and the Council of Justice of Florence. In 1302 the Podestà Cante de' Gabrielli di Gubbio condemned Dante to exile.



Padua, Arena Chapel, completed, 1305, seen by Francesco da Barberino

  

 
Bargello, Magdalen Chapel, school of Giotto, after 1321

After Dante's death in exile in Ravenna, 1321, his fellow student Francesco da Barberino, now returned from exile, had this scene frescoed by Giotto and his studio with Dante Alighieri, Corso Donati (Francesco's patron), Brunetto Latino (who had taught Guido Cavalcanti, Dante Alighieri and Francesco da Barberino in the 1280s-90s), Bishop Antonio D'Orso, all now dead, with himself, living, as kneeling in front of his fellow student, their teacher and his former patrons in the Magdalen Chapel of the Bargello. 

Those condemned to death would spend the night before in prayer in this Magdalen Chapel. At the same time Francesco commissioned the tomb by Tino da Camaino for the Bishop Antonio D'Orso in the Duomo. Francesco would carefully rehabilitate Dante's memory in Florence, seeing to it that a hundred manuscripts of the Commedia issued from his Florentine publishing house, two of which he signed himself.

Now we turn back from the Bargello to the 21. Badia on our left, the ancient monastery, founded by the mother of Count Ugo, whose monks Dante would have heard singing the Psalms in Gregorian chant that he places in the Commedia. Each year the city dignatories come here to the now-Renaissance tomb to celebrate his memory as if the city's founder.


THE BADIA

21. The Badia  Map 1D, Parrini XXIV, Tassinari XXIV. In Via del Proconsolo, BADIA, 17 rosso. Oral reading 21

 

                        VGO DI TOSCANA

CIASCVN CHE DELLA BELLA INSEGNA PORTA
DEL GRAN BARONE, IL CVI NOME E'L CVI PREGIO
LA FESTA DI TOMMASO RICONFORTA
DA ESSO EBBE MILIZIA E PRIVILEGIO.


Each one that bears the beautiful escutcheon
Of the great barn whose renown and name
The festival of Thomas keepeth fresh
Knighthood and privilege from him received.
                                                                       
PAR XVI.137-139

Willa, the mother of Ugo of Tuscany, 951-1001, founded this Abbey in Florence.

            
Catasto dell Badia                                                       Bigallo                             Biadaiuolo        Umiltà             Duomo        Oggi

Enter the door up the steps. The church is now much altered from what it was in Dante's day. There as a boy Dante would have heard the bells rung and the monks sing at Terce and Nones, at nine o'clock and then at three o'clock, at the third and ninth hours of daylight. Their other Offices of Prayers would have been Lauds, Matins, Sext, Vespers and Compline, as well as Mass. Their singing would have been in Gregorian chant. When we did the Music of the Commedia in concerts we used the manuscripts of Dante's epoch from Santa Reparata and elsewhere. The city dignatories meet here with the Gonfalone of Justice to honour Ugo of Tuscany and celebrate Mass every 21 December, the feastday of St Thomas the Apostle.

Later Boccaccio would lecture on Dante's Commedia in its chapel of St Stephen and Filipino would paint this painting of Saint Bernard's vision of the Virgin, telling him what to write in his commentary to Solomon's Song of Songs. Which Dante had evoked in Paradiso XXXIII.

Apparition of The Virgin to St Bernard by LIPPI,
              Filippino

22. Map 2D, Parrini XIV, Tassinari XIV. In Via Dante Alighieri, 1, to your left as you come out of the 21. BADIA church. Oral reading 19

 

FIORENZA DENTRO DALLA CERCHIA ANTICA,
OND'ELLA TOGLIE ANCORA E TERZA E NONA,
SI STAVA IN PACE, SOBRIA E PVDICA.

Florence, within the ancient circling wherefrom
she still receiveth terce and nones, abode in peace,
sober and chaste.

Par XV.97-99


A map of places related to Dante in marble that is in need of restoration is placed on the left wall just before the 23. Torre della Castagna.


THE
DELLA CASTAGNA TOWER


23. The Torre della Castagna on your left. Votes were carried out using bags with chestnuts (castagni), hence the name of the Tower of the Priors.



Map 2D. Dino Compagni's words are on the plaque on the TORRE DELLA CASTAGNA, Piazza San Martino where Folco Portinari, Brunetto Latino, Dante Alighieri, Dino Compagni and Francesco da Barberino had all served as Priors, Dante, during his two month term of office, exiling his friend, Guido Cavalcanti and their violent enemy Corso Donati, Guido dying of fever in that exile.

3 July 1292 Giano Della Bella’s Ordinaments of Justice. Miracles of the Virgin in Orsanmichele’s tabernacle begin, Guido Cavalcanti writing about them in his sonnet.

1295 Dante’s membership in the Arte de’ Medici e Speziali.

15 June-15 August 15 1300, Dante is one of Florence’s Priors in the 23.Torre della Castagna, near Orsanmichele. These Priors, according to the Ordinaments of Justice, have to exile Corso Donati and Guido Cavalcanti, who dies in August of malaria.


   

E chiamoronsi Priori dell'Arti e
stettono rinchiusi nella torre della
Castagna appresso alla Badia,
acciò non temessono le minacce
de' potenti
                                                                 
Dino Compagni, Cronica


SAINT MARTIN'S CHURCH

24. The Church of Saint Martin/Chiesa di San Martino del Vescovo, across from the 23. Torre della Castagna and across from the 24. Dante house, was probably founded by Irish monks. Dante married Gemma Donati here in 1285 when he was twenty years old. Later than Dante's day Bishop Antonino would found there the the BUONUOMINI DI SAN MARTINO and it would be frescoed with the Seven Acts of Mercy 1. Feed the Hungry, 2. Give drink to the Thirsty, 3. Clothe the Naked, 4. Shelter the Pilgtim, 5. Visit the Sick 6. Visit the Prisoner, 7. Bury the Dead, painted by Ghirlandaio, these mirroring the earlier scenes in the roundels of the Madonna della Misericordia fresco, now in the Bigallo. Just as the Misericordia and the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital still exist as charitable foundations to help the sick, the dying and the dead, so does this little church still exemplify Florence's carrying out of the Seven Acts of Mercy. Observe on your right a slot within a metal cross for giving money and on your left a marble slot for letters 'Per le istanze'. You can still give them the alms about which the twelve Buonuomini (Good Men) of San Martino every Friday meet, then give to the deserving poor signaled out to them in the letters given them. The only medieval and Renaissance foundation/confraternity no longer functioning is 30. Orsanmichele, built as a granary to fee even the enemy in time of famine. It was these lay confraternities from the Middle Ages and Renaissance that create Florence's great art, not the Church, not the Medici. They continue as the moral structuring of the city. They derive from the Gospels and from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, brought from Spain's multiculturalism of Arabic learning which preserved Greek philosophy, taught them by Brunetto in his Tesoro and by Dante, his student, in his Commedia.

  


DANTE'S HOUSE
 
25. The Dante House on your right

Map 2D, Parrini VIII, Tassinari VIII. In Via Dante Alighieri, 2, CASA DI DANTE, on your right, at Dante's birthplace. Oral reading 20

. . . I' FVI NATO E CRESCIVTO
SOVRA 'L BEL FIVME ARNO ALLA GRAN VILLA.

. . . Born was I and grew up
In the great town on the fair River of Arno.
                                                                
INF XXIII, 94-95

   
    
                                                  The real Dante House, 1872                                                                       The real House      The fake House   

We see this same door architecture in panels painted by Lorenzetti showing scenes from the life of Dante's contemporary, Saint Umiltà of Faenza (+1310).

     

                                                                                                                                           25. DanteHouse  23.Torre della Castagna, Engraving, 1865

The present Museo Casa di Dante is fake, built in the early twentieth century, but the building next to it is the one shown by Leonardo Bruni, he tells us, to Dante's great grandson, Leonardo Alighieri. See especially the documentation in Della Casa di Dante: Relazione con Documenti al Consiglio Generale del Comune di Firenze (Firenze: Le Monnier, 1865). It is here that Dante penned the Vita nova, presenting it on Easter day to his teacher, with the accompanying sonnet, "Messer Brunetto, questa pulzeletta". Behind the true Dante house, reached by way of the trattoria "Il Pennello", is the Piazza de' Donati where he would have played as a boy, Gemma Donati living here and being bethrothed to him by their elders.

26. Map 2D, Parrini XVIII, Tassinari XVIII. In Via dei Tavolini, corner of Via dei Cerchi, on your left, where the Galigai palace was. Oral reading 16

  

                     GALIGAI
. . . ED AVEA GALIGAIO
DORATA IN CASA SVA GIA L'ELSA E'L POME.

 . . . already Galigaio
Had hilt and pommel gilded in the house.
                                                                
PAR XVI.101-102

27. Map 2D, Parrini XXV, Tassinari XXV. In Via dei Cerchi, Via dei Tavolini, on your right, where the Della Bella palace was. Oral reading 18

    

CIASCVN CHE DELLA BELLA INSEGNA PORTA
DEL GRAN BARONE . . .
. . .
DA ESSO EBBE MILIZIA E PRIVILEGIO
AVVEGNA CHE CON POPOL SI RAVNI
OGGI COLVI CHE LA FASCIA COL FREGIO.


Each one that bears the beautiful ecutcheon
Of the great barone . . .
. . .
Knighthood and privilege from him received;
Though with the populace unites himself;
Today the man who binds it with a border.
                                                                   
PAR XVI. 127-128, 130-132

Giano della Bella was descended from Count Ugo of Tuscany.


28.
Map 2D, Parrini IX, Tassinari IX. In Via dei Tavolini, 8, on the remains of the Abati palace. Oral reading 17

 

                                 ABATE
PIANGENDO MI SGRIDO PERCHÉ MI PESTI?
SE TV NON VIENI A CRESCER LA VENDETTA
DI MONTAPERTI, PERCHÉ MI MOLESTE?
. . .
. . . VN ALTRO GRIDO - CHE HAI TV, BOCCA?
NON TI BASTA SONAR COLLE MASCELLE
SE TV NON LATRI? QUAL DIAVOL TI TOCCA?!


Weeping it cried out to me: "Why tramplest thou on me?
If thou comest not to increase the vengeance for Montaperti,
why dost thou moletst me?"
. . .
When cried another "What doth ail thee, Bocca?
Is't not enought to clatter with thy jaws,
But thou must bark? What devil touches thee?
                                                                  
INF XXXII.79-81, 106-108


Here Dante steps on a lost soul embedded in the ice in the deepest part of Hell, reserved for traitors. A debate ensues, echoing the encounter with Pier delle Vigne, Dante offering to name him in his poem, the soul desiring to remain nameless. Another identifies him as the Ghibelline Bocca degli Abati, who joined the Guelfs, pretending to be on their side, then cut off the hand of their standard bearer, bringing about their defeat. See Giovanni Villani, Nuova Cronica, I.78.
Dante was not yet born at the time of the Montaperti ambush, though Brunetto, his teacher, was deeply involved in its history. His mother was Bella degli Abati.

29. Map 2D, Parrini II, Tassinari II. Turn left on the Via Calzaioli, 11 rosso, just beyond 30. Orsanmichele, these on your left, on the Cavalcanti palace. Oral reading 15

                             

                    CAVALCANTI
. . . SE PER QVESTO CIECO
CARCERE VAI PER ALTEZZA D'INGEGNO,
MIO FIGLIO OV'E?  PERCHE NON È TECO?
ED IO A LVI DA ME STESSO NON VEGNO
COLVI CVI GVIDO VOSTRO EBBE A DISDEGNO.


                . . . If through this blind
Prison thou goest by loftiness of genius,
Where is my son? And why is he not with thee?
And I to him "I could not of myself,
He who is waiting yonder leads me here,
Whom in disdain perhaps your Guido had".
                                                                   
INF X, 58-63
 


Guido Cavalcanti, ten years older than Dante, was, with him, a major part of the Dolce stil nuovo, the "Sweet New Style", movement in poetry, Dante creating the Vita nova about himself and his adulterous/courtly love for Beatrice, Cavalcanti with his for Giovanna, when both Cavalcanti and Dante are married, Cavalcanti to Farinata degli Uberti's daughter, with the same name, Beatrice, Dante to Gemma Donati. Guido Cavalcanti, among many lyrics, wrote a sonnet about 30. Orsanmichele (Garden of St Michael), how her Madonna achieved, in a lay setting, so many miracles, that the Franciscan Friars of Santa Croce were envious, Giovanni Villani adding that the Dominicans were also.


'Una figura della Donna mia', 1292

Una figura della Donna mia
 s'adora, Guido, a San Michele in Orto,

 che, di bella sembianza, onesta e pia,

de' peccatori è gran rifugio e porto.


E qual con devozion lei s'umilìa,

chi più languisce, più n'ha di conforto:

li 'nfermi sana e' domon' caccia via

e gli occhi orbati fa vedere scorto.


Sana 'n publico loco gran langori;

con reverenza la gente la 'nchina;

d[i] luminara l'adornan di fòri.


La voce va per lontane camina,

ma dicon ch'è idolatra i Fra' Minori,
per invida che non è lor vicina.


ORSANMICHELE

30. Turn back on Via Calzaiuoli to Orsanmichele, first walk all around its outside, then first enter its church with the shrine to the Madonna and Child, next cross over to the Arte della Lana, the Wool Guild (which traded cloth and wool with England and which built the Duomo) and mount its great staircase to come to the bridge to Orsanmichele's second and top floors. This is also where the Società Dantesca Italiana has its fine library, its lecture hall and its offices. See Augustus Hare's description in his book on Florence. Orsanmichele is open and free on Mondays.


       
Orsanmichele, before its cleaning,                    Libro del Biadaiolo                                              Las Cantigas de Santa Maria
with candles and timed electric light. 
   
Orsanmichele, after cleaning                                                       Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, a copy given to Florence by King Alfonso after 1266.

ORSANMICHELE, built as a granary to feed even the enemy, such as a Siena and Pisa, in time of famine, in reparations for Florence's war crime of the embargo of foodstuffs to Pisa resulting in the cannibalism of Ugolino della Gherardesca of his children in Inferno. Its shrine is modeled on the Madonna in a tabernacle of Alfonso el Sabio's Las Cantigas de Santa Maria. Dante's Guild of the Medici e Speziali used the Madonna and Child as their emblem. ARNOLFO DI CAMBIO sculpted the Virgin's Soul as a girl child, Wisdom, God's Daughter, carried to Heaven by Christ on Santa Reparata. These all used by Dante in Paradiso XXXIII, 'Vergine Madre, Figlia del tuo Figlio'.

It can be useful to have at hand a time line concerning these events in connection with Orsanmichele:

1260-1266 Brunetto Latino goes on embassy to Alfonso X el Sabio, following writing several folios and being often named in the Libro di Montaperti, then is in exile in France. Alfonso X el Sabio, seeking to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor, sends Florence a regal copy of Las Cantigas de Santa Maria with the miracles of the Virgin in a tabernacle (BNCF MS Banco Rari 20). Brunetto sends him a Second Redaction copy of Li Livres dou Tresor, now Escorial MS ii.I.3.

1264 Birth of Francesco da Barberino

1265 Birth of Dante Alighieri

13 October 1284 The Tuscan League of Florence, Genoa and Siena, with ser “Burnectus Latinus” as ambassador, is seemingly allied against Pisa to please Charles of Anjou, ASF, Capitoli di Firenze, Reg.43, fols. 34r-37v, 85r-87v.

1284-1288 Pisa, blockaded and starving, discovers the betrayal of Ugolino della Gherardesca with Florence, and places Ugolino and his progeny in prison (Inferno 32.124-139 - 33.1-108; G. Villani, Cronica, VII. civ).

18 March 1289 Ugolino and his two sons and two grandsons are discovered to have died of starvation and cannibalism.

22 March 1289, 7 December 1291, 17 July 1292, the Comune of Florence discusses giving compensation for Count Guelfo, Ugolino’s sole surviving son for this war crime

3 July 1292 Giani Della Bella’s Ordinaments of Justice. Miracles of the Virgin in Orsanmichele’s tabernacle begin, Guido Cavalcanti writing about them in his sonnet.

1295 Dante’s membership in the Arte de’ Medici e Speziali.

15 June-15 August 15 1300, Dante is one of Florence’s Priors in the 23. Torre della Castagna, near Orsanmichele. These Priors, according to the Ordinaments of Justice, have to exile Corso Donati and Guido Cavalcanti, who dies in consequence of his exile in August of malaria.

1302 The Libro del Chiodo with the sentences against the White Guelfs by the Black Guelfs, whose leader is Corso Donati, is kept in the Podestà’s Palace, near Orsanmichele. Dante and Francesco are themselves exiled. Francesco goes to Padua where Giotto is frescoing the Arena Chapel.

1304 Orsanmichele is destroyed in a fire, and then rebuilt.

1304-1308 Francesco da Barberino is Notaio to Corso Donati who is elected Podestà in Treviso. Francesco commissions the now lost fresco about Justice, Mercy and Conscience for the Bishop of Treviso’s Palace. It is probably during this period that Dante begins the Commedia.

1310-1313 Henry VII of Luxembourg is Holy Roman Emperor. Dante Alighieri and Francesco da Barberino together write Latin Epistles to him. Dante composes the De Monarchia. Manuscripts BML Plut. 89 inf. 41, in Latin, which opens with images of Pope and Emperor, and the bildercodex BRicc MS 1538, in Italian, which is richly illuminated by the “Master of the Paduan Antiphonaries” and the “Master of the Naples’ Gratian” are finished in 1313. Both manuscripts contain texts by Brunetto Latino and appear to be written by Francesco da Barberino.

1313 Francesco da Barberino is sent on many embassies for Doge Giovanni Soranzo of Venice and is associated with the Dandalò ducal family, perhaps copies the First Redaction Li Livres dou Tresor, Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare MS DVIII, for them. As “clericus conjugatus”(a married cleric), he becomes Doctor of Law.

1318 Francesco returns to Florence with his second wife and his children from both marriages.

1321 Dante Alighieri’s death in Ravenna. Francesco da Barberino commissions the tomb in the Duomo sculpted by Tino da Camaino for his patron, Bishop Antonio D’Orso with the figure of Death shooting arrows from two bows. He seeks to rehabilitate Dante’s memory in Florence with the Officina of the “Danti del Cento” that is active until his own death. He perhaps commissions the Magdalen Chapel fresco of Brunetto, Corso, Dante and himself.

1321-1335 II Libro di Biadaiolo notes Orsanmichele’s granary feeds even Siena and Pisa in time of famine, illustrated by the “Master of the Dominican Effigies”.

1322-1345  Giovanni Villani’s Cronica nuova, illustrated by Pacino di Bonaguida.

1337 Orsanmichele is again rebuilt.

1347 Bernardo Daddi paints the Madonna and Child, copying the original version.

1348 Monna Biancia, ser Brunetto Latino’s daughter, Guido di Filippo da Castiglionchio’s widow, wills a third of her estate to the Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele.

1350 Dante Alighieri’s daughter, Antonia, now a nun in Ravenna with the name in religion of “Beatrice”, is given ten gold florins by Boccaccio from the Compagnia dei laudesi di Orsanmichele.

1357 Andrea Orcagna’s tabernacle is constructed for Bernardo Daddi’s painting.

1358 Monna Biancia dies, Orsanmichele receives her legacy.
1364 The Judge, Pietro Alighieri, Dante's first-born son, leaves his parents' house in the Piazzetta San Martino to the Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele.

23 June 1367 A manuscript of the Roman de la Rose is sold by the Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele for four golden florins.


We remember that the members of the 6. Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele were buried beside Santa Reparata (to be rebuilt as Santa Maria del Fiore), beneath this scupture of the Annunciation:



The tombs were removed from the Piazza San Giovanni in the nineteenth century.

Giovanni Villani, Cronica, VII.clv. 1322-1348
“Of the Marian Miracles that happened in Florence at Orsanmichele. In that year [1292] on the third of July, there began to be shown openly great miracles in the city of Florence through an image of St Mary painted on a pilaster of the Loggia of Orsanmichele where grain is sold, the sick healed, the crooked made straight, and the blind having their vision restored in great numbers. But the Dominicans and also the Franciscans, out of envy or for other reasons not related to faith, slandered the Florentines. In the place of the Garden of St Michael there was formerly a church of the Garden of St Michael, which was under the Abbey of Nonantola in Lombardy, and which was demolished to make a piazza. But through the custom and devotion to that figure every evening the laity would sing hymns of praise and such grew the fame of the miracles and merits of Our Lady, that people from all Tuscany came on pilgrimage at the Marian feast days, bringing wax images of the miracles she had wrought, so that both inside and outside this loggia was filled with these figures. And the Company [of praise singers] that formed, grew so great, including most of the best people of Florence, who all gave offerings and legacies, that in that year more than six thousand livres were given to the poor, so, without acquiring property, with too much coming in, all of it was distributed to the poor".

Laudario della Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele

1337 Present Orsanmichele built 1347, Madonna della Grazia di Bernardo Daddi, 1357 Tabernacolo di Andrea Orcagna

31.
Map 2C, Parrini XX, Tassinari 20. In Via Lamberti, 20 rosso, on your right, where the Lamberti palace stood. Oral reading 28

 

                         LAMBERTI
. . . E LE PALLE DELL'ORO
FIORIAN FIORENZA IN TVTT'I SVOI GRAN FATTI.


. . . and how the balls of gold
Florence enflowered in all their mighty deeds.
                                                                       
PAR XVI.110-111

Mosca de' Lamberti is involved in counselling the Amidei to take revenge and kill Buondelmonte at the Ponte Vecchio.
The 1216 strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti, 9. Uberti and 14. Donati families gave birth to the Ghibelline and Guelf vendettas in Florence. Against which Brunetto Latino so carefully taught his students in the Tesoretto.


32.
Behind the Post Office is the Museum of the Palazzo Davanzati in the Piazza Davanzati: A beautiful palace of the fourteenth century, with frescoed walls and complete with plumbing and toilets, much loved by Italian school children. Chiaro Davanzati was a poet colleague of Dante's teacher, Brunetto Latino. The palace shows what living would be like for a rich noble Florentine family, while Dante, an orphan, was comparatively poor. Visitable.


33. Map 2B, Parrini VI, Tassinari VI. In Via Tornabuoni, 1, formerly Via dei Belli, on the Gianfigliazzi palace. Oral reading 2

    

                        GIANFIGLIAZZI
. . . COM’IO RIGVARDANDO TRA LOR VEGNO,
IN VNA BORSA GIALLA VIDI AZZVRRO
CHE D'VN LEONE AVEA FACCIA E CONTEGNO

And as I gazing round me come among them,
Upon a yellow pouch I azure saw
That had the face and posture of a lion.
                                                               
INF. XVII.58-60

Dante in Inferno XVII, from the viewpoint of the fraudulent chimaera, Gerione, sees the Usurers in Hell (his own father was one), and describes their pouches as having their stemmi, their coats of arms. One of them is Rinaldo Scrovegni, whose son has Giotto fresco the Arena Chapel in Padua.

In this part of Florence one finds Piazza Limbo, Via Inferno, Via Purgatorio and the ancient and very beautiful church of the Santi Apostoli where they keep the the three flint stones brought back by the Pazzi and the lantern from which to light the Easter Fire, a ceremony brought back from the First Crusade's Jerusalem Sepulchre, that is then carried to the Duomo on Easter Sunday to light the Dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. the "Colombina", that flies out of the Cathedral to light the Carroccio, the great war chariot that is brought through the streets, drawn by white oxen with gilded garlanded horns, setting off its fireworks. When Dante creates the Chariot for Beatrice in Purgatorio it is with the memory of this Caroccio, captured by the Siense and Ghibellines at Montaperti and then restored to Florence. Dante's great great grandfather, Cacciaguida, was present in Jerusalem at the Second Crusade, dying there. If you are in Florence on three separate years, go to the Carroccio fireworks outside one year, then inside the Duomo another (the noise is horrendous from the cathedral's acoustics), the third to the Santi Apostoli.



34. Map 2C, Parrini XXVIII, Tassinari XXVIII. In Borgo SS. Apostoli, 6 nero, on the Buondelmonte palace. Oral reading 3
See 37. Ponte Vecchio


  
             

O BVONDELMONTE . . . . . .
MOLTI SAREBBER LIETE, CHE SON TRISTI,
SE DIO T'AVESSE CONCEDVTO AD EMA
LA PRIMA VOLTA CH'A CITTÀ VENISTI.


O Buondelmonte . . .
Many would be rejoicing who are sad,
If God had surrendered thee to the Ema
The first time that thou camest to the city.
                                                               
PAR. XVI.140-144

The 1216 strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti, 9. Uberti and 14. Donati families gave birth to the Ghibelline and Guelf vendettas in Florence. Against which Brunetto Latino so carefully taught his students in the Tesoretto. See 37. Ponte Vecchio.

35.
Map 3C, Parrini XXVI, Tassinari XXVI. In Borgo SS. Apostoli, 4 rosso, sulla Torre dei Baldovinetti. Oral reading 4 ♫ 

Not found

GIA ERAN GUALTEROTTI ED IMPORTUNI
E ANCOR SARIA BORGO PIU QUIETO
SE DI NOVI VICIN FOSSER DIGIUNI 


Already were Gualterotti ed Importuni
And still more quiet would the Borgo be
If with new neighbours it remained unfed
                                                              
PAR. XVI.133-135


36.
Map 3C, Parrini XXVII, Tassinari XXVII. In Por S. Maria, 11 rosso, on the Amidei tower. Oral reading 5

     

                             AMIDEI
LA CASA DI CHE NACQVE IL VOSTRO FLETO,
PER LO GIVSTO DISDEGNO CHE V'HA MORTI,
E PVOSE FINE AL VOSTRO VIVER LIETO,
ERA ONORATA, ESSA E SVOI CONSORTI.


The house from which is born your lamentation,
Through just disdain that death among you brought
And put an end to your joyous life
As honoured in itself and its companions.
                                                                  
PAR. XVI.136-139

The 1216 strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti, 9. Uberti and 14. Donati families gave birth to the Ghibelline and Guelf vendettas in Florence. Against which Brunetto Latino so carefully taught his students in the Tesoretto. See 37. Ponte Vecchio.


PONTE VECCHIO

37. Map 3C, Parrini XXIX, Tassinari XXIX. On the PONTE VECCHIO, where was the statue of Mars. On the other side of the river Arno is 'Oltrarno' or 'beyond the Arno'. Oral reading 6

 

. . . CONVENIASI A QVELLA PIETRA SCEMA,
CHE GVARDA IL PONTE, CHE FIORENZA FESSE
VITTIMA NELLA SVA PACE POSTREMA


But it behoved the mutilated statue
Which guards the bridge, that Florence should provide
A victim in her latest hour of peace.
                                                           
PAR XVI.145-147

   


The 1216 strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti, 9. Uberti and 14. Donati families gave birth to the Ghibelline and Guelf vendettas in Florence. Against which Brunetto Latino so carefully taught his students in the Tesoretto.

Giovanni Villani tells us, this strife between Ghibelline and Guelf began at the jilting by a Buondelmonte bethrothed to a daughter of the Amidei family, a jilting caused by a Donati mother who has her daughter marry him instead of the Amidei bethrothed, Buondelmonte then being murdered at the statue of the god Mars on Easter morning on the Ponte Vecchio by the 9. Uberti, the 31. Lamberti and the 36. Amidei, in 1216, that statue said to have originally been in the Baptistery as a temple of Mars, Giovanni Villani, Cronica, V.xxxviii. T
hese illustrations to Florentine history in Giovanni Villani’s Cronica are by Pacino da Buonaguida  who also illustrates several ‘Danti del Cento’ manuscripts. Dante Alighieri and his fellow student, Francesco da Barberino thus poeticize historical chronicles by Dino Compagni and Giovanni Villani.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose father, a great scholar of Dante, was in political exile from Italy in London, painted the scene of Dante painting angels, imagining the 25. Dante House as by the Arno with a view of this bridge.


Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Dante painting angels

38.
Map 3C, Parrini IV, Tassinari IV. On the PONTE VECCHIO, the Old Bridge, beneath the Vasari Corridor. Oral reading 7

 

. . . IN SVL PASSO D'ARNO

. . . on the pass of Arno
                                                    
INF XIII.146

PIAZZA SANTA FELICITA'

39. Once you have crossed the 38. Ponte Vecchio into the Oltrarno (the other side of the Arno River, like Rome's other side of the Tiber River, the Tevere, as "Trastevere"), you will see on your left hand side the little piazza of Santa Felicità with the column bound in iron at its centre. Giovanni Villani tells us, Cronica VII.lxxxix, that on St John's Day, 24 June 1283, when Dante was 18, a thousand young Florentines gathered there, dressed in white, to celebrate the God of Love, Amore, that Amore to be found in Brunetto Latino's Tesoretto, in Dante Alighieri's Vita nova, a copy of which Dante will present to his teacher one Easter day with the accompanying sonnet, "Messer Brunetto, questa pulzeletta", in the Francesco da Barberino's Documenti d'Amore, and in the Canzoniere Palatino. Francesco da Barberino was a fellow student with Dante Alighieri and Guido Cavalcanti of Brunetto Latino.






 
Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Strozzi 146, fol. 42r, Brunetto Latino,                                Column in Piazza Santa Felicità, Florence
Tesoretto, Miniaturist, Francesco da Barberino



Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Francesco da Barberino, Documenti d'Amore

Then turn back again and to your right to come into the Piazza della Signoria and its 40. Palazzo del Popolo, now called the Palazzo Vecchio, following the Medici's construction of the Uffizi, the Corridoio Vasariano, the Palazzo Pitti. If you visit the Uffizi Gallery you will see the early gold-leafed paintings of Dante's era, once in the churches for all the people but now commercialized for tourists. But not even the Palazzo Vecchio was built yet before Dante's exile.


SAN PIERO SCHIERAGGI
40. The Palazzo del Popolo, now called the Palazzo Vecchio, was originally the site of the church of San Piero Schieraggio, as it was the custom in Florence to sign Peace Treaties such as that Brunetto Latino wrote between Siena and Florence in 1254,



reading these in such churches and signing them in the presence of the populace to the ringing of the bells, having churches be also political places. In wartime such documents would be read on the field to the sound of trumpets instead.



Map 2D, Parrini III, Tassinari III. In PALAZZO VECCHIO, in the first courtyard. Farinata degli Uberti, though Ghibelline, counsels against the Sienese destroying Florence and her Palazzo della Podestà (Baargello) after the Battle of Montaperti. His daughter Beatrice will be married to Cavalcanti's son, Guido, at the Peace of Cardinal Latino, made between the Guelf and Ghibelline families so they could take common cause against the tyranny of King Charles of Anjou. Oral reading 12

 

FV'IO SOL COLÀ DOVE SOFFERTO
FV PER CIASCVN DI TORRE VIA FIORENZA
COLVI CHE LA DIFESI A VISO APERTO.

But then I was alone, where every one
Consented to the laying waste of Florence,
He who defended her with open face.
                                                               
INF X. 90-92


Map 2D. Parrini XIX, Tassinari XIX. In PALAZZO VECCHIO, in the first courtyard.
Oral reading 13

Not found

OH QUALI IO VIDI QUEI CHE CON DISFATTI
PER LOR SUPERBIA.

                                                                        
PAR XVI.109-110


Map 2D, Parrini XXX, Tassinari XXX. In PALAZZO VECCHIO, in the first courtyard.
Oral reading 14

  

VID'IO FIORENZA IN SÌ FATTO RIPOSO
CHE NON AVEA CAGIONE ONDE PIANGESSE;
CON QVESTE GENTI VID'IO GLORIOSO
E GIVSTO IL POPOL SUO, TANTO CHE IL GIGLIO
NON ERA AD ASTA MAI POSTO A RITROSO
NE' PER DIVISION FATTO VERMIGLIO.

Florence behold I in so great repose
That no occasion had she whence to weep
With all these families beheld so just
And glorious her people, that the lily
Not by division was vermilion made
                                                           
PAR XVI.149-134





While Borgo dei Greci angles off from the 40. Palazzo della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio.

41.
Map 2D, Parrini XXIII, Tassinari XXIII. In Borgo dei Greci, 29, where there had been a small gate in the first city wall. This was the quarter where the Greek Orthodox delegates to Florence's Renaissance Ecumenical Council were lodged. For their portraits see the Benozzo Gozzoli frescoes in the later Medici Palace's chapel. Oral reading 11

 


NEL PICCIOL CERCHIO S'ENTRAVA PER PORTA
CHE SI NOMAVA DA QVE' DELLA PERA.


One entered the small circuit by a gate
Which from the Della Pera took its name.
                                                                     
PAR XVI. 125-126

42. You can continue down the Borgo dei Greci coming out into the Piazza Santa Croce and its great Franciscan church, begun in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio, with the statue of Dante outside and its cenotaph to Dante inside to the right, both created during the Risorgimento's movement to unify Italy from its numerous medieval city states. Dante is instead buried in Ravenna, again with the Franciscans, his daughter Antonia there becoming a Clarissan nun and taking the name of Beatrice, 30.
Orsanmichele's Compagnia dei laudesi sent Boccaccio to her with the gift of ten gold florins. Instead, Francesco da Barberino, Dante's fellow student, is truly buried here, from dying of the plague at 84 in 1348, having just finished his final copy of the Commedia, he being Brunetto's and Dante's Florentine publisher, following his return from exile. It is Boccaccio who writes the epitaph for his tomb. Guido Cavalcanti had already died and been buried in Santa Reparata in 1300. Every year representatives of the Comuni of Florence and Ravenna and of the Società Dantesca Italiana process with the Gonfalone of Justice from the 40. Palazzo Vecchio to the 25. Dante House and to Santa Croce in honour of Dante.

.Map, Historic Centre of Florence

1                                              2                                           3

                 Piazza Beccaria

                 Museo Zeffirelli

D                                            20. Bargello

D

Ospeda    4. Duomo           25. Casa di Dante  23. Torre della Castagna        40. Palazzo Vecchio

7. Misericordia           24.  Buonuomini di San Martino

3. Battistero 

                   C                                         30. Orsanmichele                                                 Arno

                           Palazzo Davanzati   Arte della  Lana                                       37.  Ponte Vecchio



B

From Santa Croce you can turn to the right past the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, with its many Brunetto and Dante manuscripts and go along the Arno, coming to the Zecca.

43. Tassinari XI. Beyond map. In Piazza Piave on the Arno, on the tower of the old ZECCA where Florence's florin was minted. Europe's first euro. Oral reading 10





 

PER MEZZA TOSCANA SI SPAZIA
UN FIUMICEL CHE NASCE IN FALTERONA,
E CENTO MIGLIA DI CORSO NOL SAZIA


Through the midst of Tuscany there spreads a stream  Through the
which rises in Falterone and a courseof a hundred miles satiates it not.
PURG XIV. 16-18


SAN MINIATO

44. Tassinari X. [Beyond map] In via San Salvatore al Monte, at the beginning of the stairs, Oltrarno, San Niccolò, reached by the Ponte della Grazia. Oral reading 8

  

. . . PER SALIRE AL MONTE
DOVE SIEDE LA CHIESA CHE SOGGIOGO
LA BEN GVIDATA SOPRA RVBACONTE,
SI ROMPE DEL MONTAR L'ARDITA FOGA,
PER LE SCALEE, CHE SI FERO AD ETADE
CH'ERA SICVRO IL QUADERNO E LA DOGA.


To ascendthe mount where stands the church, which, over Rubaconte, dominates
the well-guided city.

PURG XII.100-105







The two churches, Santa Maria Novella by the station for the Dominicans, Santa Croce for the Franciscans, where Dante would have heard lectures on theology were outside the city walls.. Visitable.

The city walls and the great city gates, built from the stones of the levelled towers of pride of the Ghibellines, were mostly torn down by the architect Giuseppe Poggi to make Florence like Paris with boulevards, the Viale, at the Risorgimento when Florence became capital of Italy. Still extant are Porta Romana, Porta Frediano (Oltrarno), Porta di Prato, Porta San Gallo, Porta Beccaria (where executions were carried out from that of San Miniato on, until Cesare Beccaria's book against capital punishment as cruel and unusual caused Tuscany to abolish thew death penalty in 1786.

 
John Brett, Aurora Leigh, Victorian Cityscape of Florence from Bellosguardo

The medieval walls and gates, constructed by Arnolfo di Cambio, surrounding Florence like a great crown, were torn down when Florence briefly became capital of Italy by the architect Giuseppe Poggi.

45. The Porta a Pinti gate, through which Corso Donati had returned from exile to wreak vengeance on White Guelfs, among them, Dante, had the stemma of the city, the lily and the cross, sculpted by him. At its destruction these were placed by Giuseppe Poggi on the wall of the English Cemetery in Piazzale Donatello.
The lily is actually the wild Florentine iris, which we have now planted in profusion throughout the cemetery demarking its paths. Lord Leighton, William Holman Hunt and others sculpt it on many of our tombs.






Recapitulation of Suggestions for Exploring the Florence of Dante

The San Zenobio Cross, Baptistery, Duomo, Giotto Tower, Bigallo, Misericordia, Opera del Duomo Museum, all cluster together in the Piazza San Giovanni. Visitable.
The Oblate Library, formerly where women lived who dedicated their lives to nursing the sick and dying in Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, the order begun by Beatrice's nurse, Monna Tessa.
Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, begun by Dante's Beatrice's father, Folco Portinari, and still in use seven hundred years later. Visitable.
The Bargello, which held the Libro del Chiodo, in which Dante was condemned to exile and death three times, and has Dante's portrait by Giotto's school. Visitable.

The 23. Torre della Castagna where Brunetto Latino, earlier, and Dante Alighieri (15 June-15 August 1300) lived for two months as Priors of the City, Dante sharing in the condemnation of feuding Corso Donati and Guido Cavalcanti to exile, which would kill his great friend that August.
The Museo Casa di Dante (built in the twentieth-century, next to the real 25. Dante house) and the Penello Restaurant next door (real). Both visitable, the second for a meal with Tuscan food.
30. Orsanmichele, the church cum granary below, entered by the door opposite the Arte della Lana, then cross over to the Arte della Lana, climb its stairs to come out onto the bridge over to the second floor of 30. Orsanmichele with the original sculptures, then go up to the third floor with its superb view of Florence and perfect acoustics.
The Museo of the Palazzo Davanzati: A beautiful palace of the thirteenth century, complete with plumbing and toilets, much loved by school children. Chiaro Davanzati was a poet colleague of Dante's teacher, Brunetto Latino. Visitable.
The Palazzo Vecchio, then the Palazzo del Popolo, the People's Palace, used by the comunal republican government with the five hundred and the two hundred assembled citizens .Visitable.
The Ponte Vecchio, the Ponte Carraia and the Ponte delle Grazie having existed in earlier forms
The two churches, Santa Maria Novella by the station for the Dominicans, Santa Croce for the Franciscans, where Dante would have heard lectures on theology. Visitable.
The great city gates, Porta Romana, Porta Frediano, Oltrarno, Porta di Prato, Porta San Gallo, Porta Beccaria (where executions were carried out from that of San Miniato on, until Cesare Beccaria's book against capital punishment as cruel and unusual caused Tuscany to abolish its practice.
In the city centre keep looking up to find the Ghibelline towers, which the Guelphs lowered, using their pietra forte stones, quarried first from what is now the Boboli Gardens, for building the great city walls for the common defense instead of internal gang warfare between noble families where the streets had run with blood. The rings you see on walls are for tethering horses and for holding torches for street lighting. Street lighting was also provided by the many frescoed tabernacles with the Madonna and Child and Saints you will see at street corners.
In the documents in the archives of Dante's time we do not find the Medici, who were Renaissance newcomers to the city already great from Dante's poetry, Giotto's art, Arnolfo's sculpture and architecture. The Medici mainly built palaces and villas for themselves rather than for the people, taking over control of a city that prided itself as a great Republic. Macchiavelli writes The Prince as satire, from the Biblical 'Put not your trust in princes' (Psalm 146.3), and notes in the text that once a people have known liberty they will never acquiesce to a tyrant..


Bibliografia

Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Capitoli di Firenze, Reg. 43 olim XLIV/XLVI, fogli. 34-37v, 85-87v
(Genova XL, Biblioteca Universitaria Cod. A; Archivio di Stato di Genova, Cod. C, ecc.). Firenze blocca le derrate alimentari a Pisa
Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Libro di testamenti di Or San Michele (alluvionato, 1966)
Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Il Libro del Chiodo. A cura di Francesca Klein. Firenze: Edizioni Polistampa, 2004.
Piero Bargellini. A Firenze con Dante. Firenze: Giunti, 1965.
Cyrilla Barr, The Monophonic Lauda and the Lay Religious Confraternities of Tuscany and Umbria in the Late Middle Ages (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute, 1988)
Christian Bec, Les Marchands ecrivains à Florence, 1375-1434 (Paris: Plon, 1967)
Ursula Betka, 'Marian Images and Laudesi Devotion in Late Medieval Italy, ca. 1260-1350'. University of Melbourne Thesis, 2001

Biblioteca Laurenziana, LXI. 13, Lapo da Castiglionchio, cronaca inedita di Firenze e della sua famiglia
Biblioteca Nazionale, Palatina 168, Lauda di 'Maestro latino'
Giovanni Boccaccio. The Decameron. Trans. G.H.M. Williams. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.
James A. Bradbourne. Passaporto, Sulle Tracce di Dante in Toscana/Passport, In the Footsteps of Dante in Tuscany. Firenze:
Elisa Brilli, Giorgio Inglese, Jean-Claude Maire Vigueur, Nicolò Maldina, Lorenzo Tanzini, Mirko Tavoni, “Dante Attraverso i documenti: una discussione tra storici e italianisti", Reti Medievali Rivista, 15.2 (2014).
Robert Davidsohn. Storia di Firenze. Firenze: Sansoni, 1960. VIII vols.
Della Casa di Dante: Relazione con Documenti al Consiglio Generale del Comunie di Firenze. Firenze: Le Monnier, 1865
Richard Mac Cracken. The Dedication Inscription of the Palazzo del Podestà in Florence. Firenze: Leo Olschki Editore, 2001
Janis Elliott. "The Judgement of the Commune The Frescoes of the Magdalen Chapel in Florence,"" Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte (61 Bd, H. 4, 1998) 509–519.
I Giannini e l'arte del libro a Firenze, 1856-1980. Firenze: Giulio Giannini e Figlio editori, 1856.

Julia Bolton Holloway, Twice-Told Tales: Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri. Bern: Peter Lang, 1993.

_______. Un veritada ascosa sotto belle menzogna: San Miniato, San Mina, Sant'Albano e San Dionigio". De strata francigena XXVI/2 (2018), 9-33.
 Le Lapidi dantesche di Firenze. Firenze: La Graticola, 1974
Foresto Nicolai, The Dante Plaques: A Florentine Itinerar from the Divine Comedy, trans. Mark Roberts; Firenze: Coppini Tipografia, 2007.

Amerigo Parrini. Le Epigrafi dantesche di Firenze. Firenze: Giulio Giannini, 1928.

Amerigo Parrini. With Dante in Florence. Trans. C. Danyell Tassinari. Firenze: Giulio Giannini, 1930-IX.
Renato Stopani. Firenze prima di Arnolfo: Città e architettura dall'XI secolo alla metà del Dugento. Firenze: Centro Studi Romei, 2014.
Giovanni Villani, Cronica di Giovanni Villani. Roma: Multigrafica Editrice, 1980.

Highly Recommended are visits to the 32. Davanzati Palace where one can envision what it was like to live in Dante's era (Chiaro Davanzati preceded Dante as a lyric poet writing in Italian), the Opera Santa Maria del Fiore museum, the 20. Bargello museum, 30. Orsanmichele, the 40. Palazzo Vecchio,
La Musica della Commedia dell'Ensemble San Felice di Federigo Bardazzi e Marco Di Manno
Dante's Commedia at http//www.florin.ms/Dantevivo.html of which this is a part,
and also
the Museo Zeffirelli in Piazza San Firenze for its animated Inferno, and to have lunch or dinner at the trattoria, Il Pennello, the true 25. Dante house,
and a coffee at the 17. Palazzo Portinari-Salviati.
 
With thanks to Maria Novella Fioretta Pucci, Giacomo Pucci, Eugenio Giani, Richard Mac Cracken, Alberto Casciani, Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu, Giuliano Benvenuti and the Biblioteca del Capitolo Metropolitano Fiorentino, Enrico Giannini, Renato Stopani, Massimo Tosi, Assunta D'Aloi, Domenico Savini, Spencer Abruzzese, Paolo Ciampi. Could the gentle reader request that the Comune of Florence clean and repair the Dante plaques and the bronze bust of Dante on the Museo Casa di Dante, and could you consider contributing financially to these tasks of preserving history and literature in marble and bronze?

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