Dante Alighieri was born on May 29, 1265 in Florence from a family of the little nobility. In 1274, according to Vita Nuova, he saw Beatrice (Bice di Folco Portinari) for the first time and fell in love with her immediately and hopelessly. When his mother Gabriella, the "beautiful mother," died, Dante was about ten years old. At 17, in 1283, when his father Alighiero di Bellincione, a merchant, died in turn, Dante became the head of the family.
The young Alighieri followed the philosophical and theological teachings of the Franciscan (Santa Croce) and Dominican schools (Santa Maria Novella). In this period he made friends and began a correspondence with the young poets who called themselves "stilnovists". In the Rime there is the set of poetic work by Dante, from the years of Florentine youth, long during his literary career, which are not included in any other work. It is within this framework that we can find traces of the conscious detachment that followed the first draft of Hell and Purgatory, which would have led Dante to false philosophical conceptions, temptations of the flesh and vulgar pleasures.
At the age of 20 she married Gemma Di Manetto Donati, belonging to a secondary branch of a large noble family, from whom she will have four children, Jacopo, Pietro, Giovanni and Antonia.
Two years after the death of Beatrice, in 1292, he began to write the New Life. So early on, Dante devoted himself completely to poetry by studying philosophy and theology, in particular Aristotle and St. Thomas.
In the Petrus rhymes (about 1296), perhaps dedicated to a beautiful and insensitive Madonna Petra, we note how the originality of Dante Alighieri is concretized in the correspondence between matter and representation. The violence of passion and the cruelty of the beloved corresponds to a realistic style, full of brutal references.
He will remain fascinated by the political struggle characteristic of that period and will build all his work around the figure of the Emperor, myth of an impossible unity. In 1293, however, following a decree that excluded nobles from Florentine political life, the young Dante had to abide by the care of his intellectual interests.
Finally, in 1295, an ordinance decreed that the nobles regained civic rights, provided they belonged to a corporation. Dante joined the doctors and pharmacists, who were the same as librarians, with the mention of "poet". When the struggle between Guelphs White and Guelphs Blacks became harsher, Dante sided with the party of the Whites who tried to defend the independence of the city by opposing the hegemonic tendencies of Boniface VIII Caetani, who was Pope from December 1294 to 1303.
In 1300, Dante was elected among the six "Priori" - custodians of the executive power, the highest magistrates of the government that composed the Signoria - who, to mitigate the bias of the political struggle, took the difficult decision to have the most madmen arrested. the leaders of the two sides. But in 1301, just as Charles de Valois arrived in Florence and the party of the Blacks, supported by the papacy, took the upper hand, Dante was called to Rome to the court of Boniface VIII. When political trials began, accused of corruption, he was suspended from public offices and sentenced to pay a heavy fine. Since he did not lower himself, like his friends, to appear before the judges, Dante was condemned to the confiscation of property and "to the executioner" if he had been found on the territory of the City of Florence. He was forced to leave Florence with the conscience of having been mocked by Boniface VIII, who had held him in Rome while the Blacks took power in Florence and was always his fierce adversary, earning himself a prominent position in the circles of Hell. of the Divine Comedy.
Starting from 1304, the long exile begins for Dante, during which he is always welcomed: Verona, Lucca, perhaps even Paris ... From the death of Beatrice to the years of exile, he dedicated himself to the study of philosophy (for him) the whole of the profane sciences) and has composed love lyrics where the style of praise as well as the memory of Beatrice are absent. The center of the speech is no longer Beatrice but "the kind woman", an allegorical description of philosophy, which traces the interior itinerary of Dante towards wisdom. He writes the Convivio (1304-1307), the unfinished treatise composed in vulgar language that becomes an encyclopedic summa of practical knowledge. This work is a synthesis of essays for those who, because of their formation or social condition, do not have direct access to knowledge. He will wander through cities and Courts according to the opportunities that will be offered to him and will not cease to deepen his culture through the different experiences he experiences.
In 1306 he began writing the Divine Comedy to which he worked for his entire life. When he begins "to be a part of himself", renouncing attempts to forcibly return to Florence with his friends, he becomes aware of his own loneliness and detaches himself from the contemporary reality that he considers dominated by vice, injustice, corruption and inequality. In 1308, in Latin, he composed a treatise on language and style: the De vulgari eloquentia, in which he reviewed the different dialects of the Italian language and proclaimed that he had not found "the odorous panther of the bestiaries" of the Middle Ages that he sought, including the Florentine and its imperfections. He thinks he has captured "the insatiable beast in that vulgar that in every city exhales its smell and in no one finds its den". He founds the theory of a vulgar language that he calls "illustrious", which can not be one of the Italian local dialects but a language that is the result of the cleansing work brought forward collectively by Italian writers. It is the first manifesto for the creation of an Italian national literary language.
In 1310, with the arrival in Italy of Henry VII of Luxembourg, Roman emperor, Dante hopes in the restoration of imperial power, which would allow him to return to Florence, but Enrico dies. Dante then composes the De Monarchia, written in Latin, where he declares that the universal monarchy is essential to the earthly happiness of men and that imperial power must not be subservient to the Church. He also discusses the relationship between the Papacy and the Empire: the spiritual power to the Pope, the temporal power to the Emperor. Around 1315, he was offered to return to Florence but on terms that his pride was too humiliating. He refused with words that remain a testimony of his human dignity: "This is not my father the way of my return home, but if first you and then others do not find another that you do not give up honor and dignity of Dante, I will accept it in not slow steps and if for any such person it goes to Florence, I will never enter Florence. Nor will the bread be lacking ».
In 1319, he was invited to Ravenna by Guido Novello da Polenta, Lord of the city who, two years later, sent him to Venice as ambassador. Returning from this embassy, Dante was struck by a malaria attack and died in Ravenna at age 56 on the night between 23 and 24 September 1321, where his tomb is located.