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Dante e Santa Maria Nuova: Kent State University Conferences

Born in Florence in 1265, Dante Alighieri is undoubtedly the man of Florentine and Tuscan art, literature, and language. Until his exile in 1302, Dante made immense impacts on the wider body of Western art and literature, from his Divine Comedy—pronounced one of the most important pieces of poetry in the Middle Ages—to helping establish the basics of the modern Italian language using Tuscan dialect rather than Latin in his other works. 

During his time in Florence, Dante met his beloved Beatrice Portinari, whose father founded Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital in 1288—the oldest one still active in the city. Her father, Folco Portinari, ensured the building of the hospital near the burial of Monna Tessa—the matriarch of the family—whose remains are located under the tombstone still visible in the Cloister of the Bones of the Hospital.

If you’re interested in all things Dante, Portinari, Santa Maria Nuova—and everything in between—be sure to visit Kent State University Florence to attend a series of conferences held by various professors, historians, and experts on the greatest Italian poet and his connection to the oldest running hospital in the city. Through each of these conferences, you’ll have access to a plethora of expertise and knowledge on a variety of topics related to Dante and Santa Maria Nuova. 

WHEN: Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. starting Oct. 14. 

WHERE: Kent State University Florence. 

Thursday, Oct. 14: Professor of Modern History Giovanni Ciprani from the University of Florence will be hosting “Dante and the Portinari,” discussing the vast connections between the poet and the Portinari family. 

Thursday, Oct. 28: Franco Cardini, Professor Emeritus of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa will be hosting “Dante’s Middle Ages,” discussing the poet’s life during the Middle Ages. 

Thursday, Nov. 4: If you’re more interested in the Portinari family and their history in Florence, be sure to check out “Beatrice Portinari: from Inspiring Muse to Holy Protector,” hosted by Donato Massaro, writer and Academician of Honor of the Academy of Arts and Drawing in Florence. 

Thursday, Nov. 11: Architect and former Officer Archaeologist Director S.B.A.T. Mario Pagni will be hosting “The ‘Fedeli d’Amore’ and Dante,” discussing the life of Dante and his membership within the Fedeli d’Amore, a sort of ramification of the Templar Order. 

Thursday, Nov. 18: Two conferences hosted by Fabrizio Ricciardelli and Esther Diana will take place: Ricciardelli, Director of Kent State University Florence, will be discussing “Florence Hospitaller,” and Diana, historian from the Fondazione Santa Maria Nuova Onlus, will be hosting “What if Dante needed hospitalization at Santa Maria Nuova?”

Dante, Santa Maria Nuova, and the Portinari family all have connections with each other, alongside an importance to the city of Florence as a whole—why not learn more? To attend or for more information, call at 055 6938688, or send an email to [email protected]