Ravenna - 23 June 2016 - Karina Mamalygo
Dante Alighieri, the great Italian poet who was expelled from his hometown of Florence, died in the night between September 13 and 14, 1321 in Ravenna. He was buried in a small portico of the church of San Francesco. The lord of Ravenna, Guido Novello of Polenta, wanted to erect a monument on the tomb, but fell from power a few months after Dante’s passing. In 1483, the mayor of Ravenna, Bernardo Bembo, commissioned the sculptor, Pietro Lombardo, to create a portrait of Dante in bas-relief and a new urn in the poet’s honor.
In 1519, Florentine Pope Leo X conceded the city of Florence permission to retrieve Dante’s body, but his remains were hidden by Franciscan friars in another monastery nearby. In 1780, as per architect Camillo Morigia’s project, a small temple was erected to safeguard the tomb where Dante’s body finally was laid to rest. The engraved epitaph reads, “Here I am confined, (I) Dante, exiled from my ancestral land, bore by Florence, a mother of little love.” From the temple there is a ladder that leads to a small museum.