14 June, 2021

Andante, A Poet in Slow Motion

“Even if you have read and reread it, Dante always has something new to tell us.” Italy celebrates an icon. The richest tributes are happening in Ravenna.

Andante, A Poet in Slow Motion

As she has each evening for the past eight months, Giuliana Turati opened her well-worn copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy as the last of 13 peals of a church bell reverberated around the tomb of the great Italian poet. Italy is honouring Dante Alighieri—who died in exile from Florence on September 13, 1321—in myriad ways on the 700th anniversary of his death. Those include new musical scores and gala concerts, exhibits and dramatic readings against stunning backgrounds in every corner of the country, reports the Associated Press. But nowhere is the tribute more intimate than before his tomb, which was restored for the anniversary, as dusk falls each day in the city of Ravenna, a former Byzantine capital. Turati, a life-long Ravenna resident, comes to listen as volunteer Dante-lovers read a single canto, following along in the copy of the Divine Comedy inscribed with the year she studied the poet’s masterwork in school: 1967. “Even if you have read and reread it, Dante always has something new to tell us,” Turati says. The daily reading, part of a...

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