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San Gimignano with Dante Alighieri, as Florentine ambassador in 1300

Dante Alighieri was an Italian poet, writer and politician. Considered the father of the Italian language, he is the author of the Divine Comedy, universally considered one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature.

At the end of the thirteenth century in Florence there were two factions: the white Guelphs and the black Guelphs who were fighting for the political and economic hegemony of the city.

Although both were supporters of the pope, they were ideological opposites. The white Guelphs, in favor of the lordship and supporters of the autonomy of the Municipality, believed that the pontiff should exercise only ecclesiastical power. The black Guelphs, on the other hand, represented above all the interests of the richest families in Florence, and were fully supporters of the Pope as the only one with the right to govern everything, even on political and economic issues.

Historical episodes related to the contrasts that arose within the Guelph Party are widely treated in the Divine Comedy, which was written by Dante Alighieri in those years.

Dante was always very active politically; belonging to the faction of the white Guelphs, in May 1300 he was sent as ambassador of the Florentine Republic to San Gimignano to seek support for a Guelph League in Tuscany. The Municipality of San Gimignano was honored to welcome him and the room in which he gave his speech was later named after him.

Dante in his Comedy (Purgatorio XXIV, 19-24) writes that he knows the goodness of a glass of the Vernaccia wine.


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