CENL Event

5th April 2021

Vatican Library: Traveling With Dante

Associating Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) with the theme of travel is almost obvious for several reasons; on all, his major work, the Divine Comedy,which narrates the author’s journey in the otherworldly world, and his life as an exile, forced by political events to leave his native Florence and wander at several Italian courts. However, the title of the exhibition also intends to suggest a possibility of organized visit with routes, stops, places of departure and arrival that each visitor can build as they please. For those who wish, there is certainly also a prepared path, indicated by the succession of exhibited pieces grouped according to themes, as if you were in the different rooms of an exhibition. The Library will start from the life of Dante, then continuing with the chronology of his works, then arrive at his masterpiece, the Comedy, showing how it has been over the centuries “imagined” by miniators, engravers, printers.

Many others are the works, not only poetic, to which adequate space is dedicated, and which have helped to transform Dante into an icon not only as “father of the Italian language” but also in a literal, portraiture, with his depictions appearing in engravings, medals and coins. A final “hall” of the exhibition is dedicated to Giovanni Boccaccio reader, and not only, of Dante.



Urb. Lat. 378, f. 31r, incipit del Purgatorio: Dante and Virgil on the spacecraft of ingenuity

Go there. Lat. 3793, f. 99v, Canzoniere della lirica italiana delle origini: Donne ch’avete intelletto d’amore

Urb. Lat. 686, f. 2r, incipit del Convivio

The material on display is not just to be looked at. The impressive amount of information on the historical, artistic, literary aspects of each artifact and the specific annotations on individual details of the images allow insights in different directions according to the interests of each visitor, from curiosity about an iconographic theme or the use of a certain colour in miniatures to the in-depth study of a manuscript or a specific theme with the help of the numerous bibliographical references.


Cicognara IV.1094.obl., tav.11, Tommaso Piroli da John Flaxman, Inf. X: Dante and Virgil meet Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti

Traveling with Dante can really be an amazing experience, for more information about dates and details, please visit the Vatican Library.

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