The Dante Tourist

Feb 06, 2019 278


You might say that we’re in the middle of the journey of our life: My wife and I reached our 25th wedding anniversary last year. To celebrate, we went to Italy. We put Florence on the itinerary because we wanted to see Brunelleschi’s dome, Leonardo’s paintings, and Michelangelo’s statue of David. But we also had a special reason for traveling to Florence. We had spent the fall reading Dante’s The Divine Comedyand auditing a course on it at Hillsdale College. (Our professor, Stephen Smith, joined me this week on the Great Books Podcast to discuss this Middle Ages masterpiece in the first of three episodes.)

So we weren’t just tourists in Florence. We were Dante tourists. We made a point of walking down Via Dante Alighieri. We ate at restaurants with names like Trattoria Pizzeria Dante and Ristorante Dante e Beatrice. We made like geeks when we came across inscriptions of Dante’s words on the sides of buildings. (The Dante Plaques, a booklet by Foresto Niccolai, describes 34 of these inscriptions, mounted around the city in 1907 and still prominent today.) My wife would whip out her phone, open her Kindle app, and look up the reference. (For a virtual tour of the plaques, go here.)

Read more


You may be interested