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.
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
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.
You can now continue down the Via Sant'Egidio from the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital until on your right you see an arch way.
Maria Grazia Beverini Del Santo, Piccarda Donati nella storia del Monastero di Monticelli (Firenze: Pagliai, 2007).
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.
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.
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
Cavalcanti, who dies in August
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.
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 ♫
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.
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
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.
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.
Laudario della Compagnia dei Laudesi di Orsanmichele
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 ♫
strife between the 34. Buondelmonte, 36. Amidei, 31. Lamberti,
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.
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.
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,
Museo ZeffirelliD 20. Bargello
Ospeda 4. Duomo
di Dante 23.
Torre della Castagna
40. Palazzo Vecchio
7. Misericordia 24. Buonuomini di San Martino
C 30. Orsanmichele Arno
Palazzo Davanzati Arte della Lana 37. Ponte Vecchio
PURG XIV. 16-18