At what age can you start studying and getting to know the figure of Dante Alighieri? Children, you know, are very curious and any story, if explained well and with some curiosity suitable for the little ones, can become the most beautiful story in the world.
Even Dante, such an important figure for our Italian language, can thus be studied from an early age. Let’s see together how.
Today, March 25, the Council of Ministers, on the proposal of the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, established the national day dedicated to the poet Dante Alighieri. Why on March 25? Because according to scholars Dante began his journey into the afterlife with the Divine Comedy.
But who was Dante Alighieri?
Dante was an Italian poet and writer who lived between 1200 and 1300 in Florence. The most famous work is “The divine Comedy“, divided into three parts or canticles, each of which corresponds to a part of the journey he makes:
Each of these is composed of 33 songs (except Hell, which contains a further proemial song). On this journey Dante is accompanied by two guides. In Hell and Purgatory he is accompanied by the poet Virgil, while in Paradise he accompanies him Beatrice, the woman he is madly in love with. In the Divine Comedy, Dante tells an imaginary journey through the three otherworldly realms, which will lead him to the vision of the Trinity. Until that time the books were written in Latin. The Divine Comedy, on the other hand, was written in the Florentine dialect. Dante thus demonstrated to everyone that that dialect was a real language by now suitable for dealing with any topic and describing any type of landscape and mood.
The Italian language was thus able to develop and obscure the Latin one which until then was considered the main language in Italy. For this Dante is considered the “Founding Father of the Italian language”.
Curiosities about Dante’s “journey”.
Dante’s journey from Hell to Paradise actually lasts “only” 7 days.
The main reference to the time of history is Hell XXI, 112-114: at that time it is seven in the morning of Holy Saturday 1300, 9 April. The year is confirmed by Purgatory II, 98-99, which refers to the Jubilee in progress.
Based on this, the critics came to the conclusion that:
- On the morning of April 8 (Good Friday), Dante leaves the “dark forest” and begins to climb the hill, but is put to flight by the three beasts and meets Virgil;
- At sunset, Dante and Virgil begin their visit to Hell, which lasts about 24 hours and then ends at sunset on April 9th;
- Overcoming the center of the Earth, Dante and Virgil land in the “time zone” of Purgatory (12 hours difference from Jerusalem and 9 hours from Italy), so it is morning when they undertake the ascent, which takes up the whole of the following day;
- At dawn on April 10 (Easter Sunday), Dante and Virgil begin to explore Purgatory, with a journey that lasts three days and three nights;
- Dawn of the fourth day, April 13 or March 30, Dante enters the Earthly Paradise and spends the morning there, during which Beatrice joins him. At noon, Dante and Beatrice go up to heaven.
The first time Dante saw Beatrice she was 9, then they met when they both turned eighteen.
He never spoke to her, but a glance was enough and he fell madly in love with the girl. A “platonic” love.
In reality the girl really existed and her name was Bice, born in Florence in 1266, daughter of Folco Portinari and wife of Simone dei Bardi at the age of nineteen.
Dante was married to Gemma Donati – with whom he also had four children – but as often happened at the time, his true love was reserved precisely for Beatrice, who, however, did not reciprocate and died very young. Dante describes the appearance of this angelic woman in the Vita Nova and then made one of his own guides, together with Virgil and San Bernardo, in the otherworldly journey narrated in the Divine Comedy.
Here are some books suitable for children and teenagers to bring them closer to Dante Alighieri:
The feline Comedy by Elisa Binda and Mattia Perego (Einaudi Ragazzi)
In the middle of the he walked seven lives, the Dante cat he finds himself in a dark forest. Fortunately for him, he meets the poet cat Virgil, which will guide him on an incredible journey and will make him discover what happens to the cats that have behaved well in life and those that have behaved badly. A feline and humorous reinterpretation of Dante Alighieri’s immortal masterpiece, 700 years after his death. An original text divided into “Feline hell, feline purgatory is paradise feline“.
Hell Wrongly Explained by Francesco Muzzopappa (DeAgostini)
Dante would have liked to go on vacation a Lanzarote, but Virgil makes false cards to drag him … to Hell. A beautiful place, with flames like moles metal concerts! And where you always go downhill, like on the waterslides … When you find yourself surrounded by rocks, moans and screams that not even at a concert of Ariana Grande, Dante realizes that he is really unlucky. After having faced swirling rivers, damned tormented by horrendous tortures and devils with ember eyes, at the end of every circle, circle or bedlam a crossroads awaits him. Which road leads to the exit? The one in yellow bricks with a sign indicating “OZ“. Luckily for any doubt you can ask Mirror, because Mirror always knows everything. The Divine Comedy is littered with obstacles and levels to overcome, precisely like a game. An unprecedented and engaging approach to discover everything there is to know about Dante’s masterpiece, song after song, with instructive and original in-depth boxes on characters, mechanisms and structure of the work.
Dante’s monsters. Divine Comedy activity book by Laura Vanoli, Giacomo Guccinelli and Mario Volpi (Salani)
What a life that would be a life without monsters? Creepy, frightening, funny, yet so important to populate the stories of every culture and every time and to play an important role in the greatest Italian literary work: the Divine Comedy. But now just turn your back on them and run away! The time has come to get to know them and play with them a little and learn how to face them. A Dante expert and two creatives have thus decided to join forces to create a truly unique book. Colorful and full of activity, I mostri di Dante presents seventeen monstrous characters from Hell linked to as many threats and, through stories, examples, comics and games, stimulates children to face them with wit and critical thinking, but above all with lightness and irony, offering an unprecedented point of view on the Comedy and many food for thought.
The Divine Comedy told to children by Annamaria Piccione (Mondadori)
Through an original rewrite, the Comedy is transformed into an adventure novel that between unexpected encounters, breathtaking scenery, grumbling demons and angelic songs leads Dante to the three realms of the afterlife, accompanied by the light and ironic images of Francesc Rovira.
My friend Dante by Geronimo Stilton (Piemme)
Topazia’s most famous journalist meets Dante Alighieri and offers a child-friendly reinterpretation.