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Dante: Italy celebrates the Father of the Italian Language

Over 100 Dante-themed events taking place across Italy.

Italy celebrates Dante Alighieri, the mediaeval poet and philosopher known as the Father of the Italian language, with the second edition of Dantedì on 25 March.

The annual national celebration takes place as Italy marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante, with more than 100 events in his honour planned across the country.

Oscar-winning actor and director Roberto Benigni will read Canto XXV from Paradiso in Dante's epic masterpiece The Divine Comedy at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, in the presence of the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella.

The reading will be televised by the national broadcaster RAI 1 at 19.00 this evening, 25 March.

Italy's culture minister Dario Franceschini said the Dante celebrations come after major national initiatives in honour of two other "great personalities of Italian culture," Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

"All three have had and continue to have an enormous influence on contemporary thought" - said Franceschini - "but Dante is undoubtedly the most universal and transversal, capable as he is of striking the creative imagination in multiple forms: from theatre to music, from figurative art to writing, from cinema to dance, all the arts have interpreted or reinterpreted Dante and his work."Some of the highlights in this "Year of Dante" include an exhibition of the complete series of illustrations of The Divine Comedy by Francesco Scaramuzza in Parma, Capital of Culture; an exhibition on Dante's influence on the work of ancient and modern artists in Forlì; and multiple cultural events in Florence, Ravenna and Verona.

In October Rome will unveil Inferno, a major exhibition at the prestigious Scuderie del Quirinale, dedicated to the 'Hell' from Dante's Divine Comedy.

The full programme of Dante-themed exhibitions, readings and events - many of them online due to covid-19 restrictions - can be consulted on the Dante700 website.

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