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Badia Fiorentina

Where Dante Saw Beatrice

Badia and Bargello

The beautiful Romanesque campanile of this ancient Benedictine abbey, or Badia, was cited by Dante in the Paradiso. The Badia was founded at the end of the 10th century by the widow of Umberto, the Margrave of Tuscany, and further endowed by their son Ugo, ‘the Good Margrave’.

Dante’s nostalgia for Florence appears in little things all through his great work; in the Paradiso (canto XV, 97–9) he recalls how the Badia’s bells marked the hours of the day in his old haunts. Most scholars believe Dante was born nearby in Via Dante Alighieri, and he would come here to gaze upon his Beatrice.

Some 50 years after the poet’s death, Dante’s first biographer, Boccaccio, used the Badia as his forum for innovative public lectures on the text of the Divina Commedia. It’s surprising today to read that Boccaccio’s (and later, the Renaissance’s) principal criticism of the work is that Dante chose to write about lofty, sacred things in the vulgar tongue of Tuscany.

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Medieval Art & Architecture

Churches, Cloisters and Convents

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Emanuel Ravelli, PD Art