The 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the renowned Italian poet, becomes an occasion to celebrate his work worldwide. On March 17, marking the 160th year since the unification of Italy, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an online press conference to present Dante 700 Worldwide, a series of initiatives created to celebrate the “Sommo Poeta”. Participants included Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi di Maio; the President of the Dante Alighieri Society Andrea Ricciardi; Claudio Marazzini, President of the Accademia della Crusca; and several other important guests.
The initiatives will be held in all five continents, involving the network of diplomatic missions and Italian Cultural Institutes abroad as well as the local Italian communities. The programme, which includes exibithions, seminars, concerts, and immersive experiences, kicks off in March with Dante Day (25 March) and will last until the 21st Week of the Italian Language in the World (18-24 October), which this year too is dedicated to the Poet (“Dante, the Italian”).
“This anniversary is very important both for the history and the cultural heritage of our country” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi di Maio, highlighting how the celebrations will take place in an unprecedented time in history, that forced us to change the way we interact with “the other” and the way we think about culture. The past year represented a challenge that required artists to find new creative ways to make art available through new technologies, also allowing them to reach a wider and more different audience.
Some of these innovations are here to stay and this means activities such as promotion and dissemination of culture will change. During the last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Cultural Institutes around the world organized many online cultural events.
In view of Dante 700 Worldwide, the Italian Center for the book and reading (Cepell), in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Corriere della Sera Foundation and the magazine “La Lettura” organized Dante in the World, a series of online events that will take place from March 21, World Poetry Day, to March 25, the first Dante Day. The twelve readings will take place in twelve different cities, at the Italian Cultural Institutes in Berlin, Munich, London, Madrid, Rabat, Tunis, Moscow, Warsaw, Istanbul, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and San Francisco.
The project, a kind of “literary relay”, will present a unique and fascinating exploration of some of the most memorable cantos of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. These are not simple readings, but dramatic and musical interpretations, monologues, and performances. The first reading, in Berlin, will focus on Beatrice, the Poet’s inspiring muse (Beatrice, the admiral; readings from the Paradiso and the Purgatorio); the seminar in Madrid will be about Hugs in Dante’s Divina commedia and their specific meaning; in Istanbul, literature will meet music through Dante700. In Jazz@Istanbul, a reading of the Inferno accompanied by a jazz concert and original compositions; and so on. The work of the Poet becomes a bridge between different places, cultures, and languages.