Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York Prepares to Celebrate the Genius of Dante: Poet, Philosopher, Political Thinker

Feb 13, 2020 263

On the occasion of the 699th anniversary of the death of Dante Aligheri, the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York, Inc. (IHCC-NY, Inc.), together with the Società Dante Alighieri di NYC, Inc., will celebrate the genius of the great medieval poet and philosopher on March 24 and 25.

On the evening of March 24, the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute will host a symposium on Dante; and on March 25, excerpts from the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy) will be presented at the Dante statue in Dante Park, in front of Lincoln Center at 63rd Street and Columbus Ave at 3 PM. The events are being planned with the support of the Consulate General of Italy in New York.

These New York events come in conjunction with the Italian government’s recent establishment of an annual national day dedicated to the poet, who is known as the “Father of the Italian language,” a designation proposed by Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini. March 25 is traditionally considered the date for the start of Dante’s journey detailed in his famous poetic work. Our events are in anticipation of the 2021 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, which will feature numerous commemorative events to be planned by educational and cultural institutions, including the Dante Societies in Italy and worldwide.

Dante’s historic significance stems partly from his being the first to use the vernacular language of Florence in a major literary work, instead of Latin, which had been accessible to only the welleducated. Dante set a precedent that subsequent Italian writers followed, including Boccaccio, Petrarca, and Tasso. More important, Dante’sItalian became the national language, unifying the people of Italy across diverse regions and dialects. His epic philosophical poem, La Divina Commedia, chronicles Dante’s journey through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, guided first by ancient Roman poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, his idealized love. The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest poems of all times.

In announcing the events for March 24 and 25, 2020, Comm. Joseph Sciame, President/Chair of the IHCC-NY, Inc., stated: “We are most honored to be the protagonists for this year’s 699th anniversary of the life of Dante and will celebrate it well. The events, coordinated by our Board members, and spearheaded by longtime member Uff. Mico Licastro, will certainly be varied and celebratory. For those of us in the 21st Century to continue such a recognition after seven centuries is quite incredible, for the legacy that has been left to us by Dante Aligheri!”

Additional information about the functions and details will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

SOURCE: Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of New York

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