Today, March the 25th 2020, is Italy’s inaugural National Dante Day

Portrait of DanteToday, when Italy is united in the fight against Covid-19, the country will celebrate one of its most famous poets who is regarded as the father of the Italian language and a powerful symbol of unity. March 25, 2020 is the inaugural National Dante Day or Dantedi which will celebrate Florentine poet and author of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri. The proposal, by Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, to mark March 25 as Dantedi had been rubberstamped before the current health crisis. A series of initiatives involving students and cultural institutions had been planned. But in a show of unity across the country these will now be virtual events streamed across the internet.

A series of performances and readings will be tagged #Dantedì and #IoleggoDante and now, after the lockdown #DantediACasa

“Dante is the unity of this country,” Franceschini said, “Dante is the Italian language, Dante is the very idea of Italy. “This first edition occurs at a particularly difficult time. The many initiatives we have planned have been moved to the web. That’s why I’m appealing to artists to read Dante’s words on March 25 and post your activities. Dante embodied the Italian language, as does Italy. That’s why it’s more important than ever to remember him to stay united.”

Italy’s unity has been showcased around the world in recent days as Italians took to their balconies to find wonderfully creative ways to stay upbeat despite the lockdown.

Florentines reciting Dante from their windows

Italian Teachers reading Dante from their own homes

Vittorio Gassman reading Dante - from a different time but fabulous

Benigni reads Dante

Singing from the balcony during the lockdown

Singing Bella Ciao from the balconies

Italy sings during the lockdown

Italy sing during the lockdown

Italian’s are being invited back onto their balconies tonight at 6pm to record themselves giving readings from the works of Dante. On Firenze TV’s Youtube channel there will be an evening devoted to Dante with readings from the Divine Comedy from 8.30pm. Elsewhere in Florence, the Uffizi will be hosting a virtual exhibition of Dante images. One of Dante’s famous quotes reads: “Beauty Awakens the Soul to Act”.

We at Invitation to Tuscany can assure our Italian friends that when the restrictions are lifted, we will be back to enjoy the Bel Paese!