Dante’s house in Florence, a museum dedicated to the Supreme Poet
We know that the Alighieri family lived in the heart of the historic center of Florence, between the church of San Martino and Piazza dei Donati. It is Dante himself who tells it, narrating that he was born in 1265 in the shadow of the Badia Fiorentina. His brother Francesco sold part of the house after his death and the rest of the family moved away from Tuscany. Dante’s true birthplace no longer exists. In fact, it is believed that it was a building, now destroyed, which stood in Piazza San Martino next to the Torre della Castagna.
The current museum was housed in some medieval houses, including one of the two Torri dei Giuochi, restored by the Municipality of Florence in 1911. For several years these buildings were occupied by municipal offices but in 1965, on the occasion of the seventh centenary of Dante’s birth, the complex was handed over by the Municipality to the Unione Fiorentina which built the Museo della Casa di Dante there.
From 2020 the Casa di Dante Museum has a new highly technological and multimedia exhibition that accompanies visitors to discover the life and work of the Supreme Poet, Dante Alighieri. The museum is spread over four floors. By visiting it, you will take a journey into Dante’s life and into the Florence of his time, including films, immersive rooms and virtual reality. On the ground floor there are the bookshop and the first video in which Dante introduces himself.
Going up to the first floor we find a first room that reconstructs the story of Dante’s life. This is followed by an immersive room dedicated to the important Battle of Campaldino, in which Dante himself participated. In the third room we talk about the local economy with the florin, the currency used for exchanges and minted throughout Europe, in gold and silver, and the Arts of Florence, the guilds of arts and crafts. The fourth room deals with the theme of internal divisions in the city and the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, which cost the poet so much. The last space of this floor is dedicated to the “Libro del Chiodo“, the book in which the sentence with the sentence of exile inflicted on the great poet in 1301 is found. It is a volume that was hung with a nail in the room of Judges and Notaries and could be consulted publicly.
The first floor is dedicated to Dante as the father of the Italian language and to his Divine Comedy. An installation is dedicated to his master Brunetto Latini while on one side there is the reproduction of a bedroom of the time, a non-virtual corner in a museum very devoted to technology. The last space is an immersive room entirely dedicated to Dante’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. The voice of the famous actor and dubber Francesco Pannofino accompanies us on Dante’s journey through the reading of some of the most significant parts from Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. On one of the walls there are numerous volumes and editions of the Divine Comedy, some of which are very rare and ancient.
On the third and last floor, dedicated to Florence, we find on one wall the reproduction of the painting of the Madonna della Misericordia, exhibited at the Bigallo Museum; which gives us a fairly precise idea of what the city looked like in the first half of the fourteenth century, at the time of Dante.
Activities, events and educational workshops
The Casa di Dante Museum organized various educational activities and workshops with the aim of bringing the younger ones closer to the figure of Dante and medieval history. In addition to the workshops, guided tours organized by the museum can also be booked.
Useful information on Dante’s house
Dante’s home is located in Via Santa Margherita 1 in Florence. The museum is almost always open; it is closed only on Mondays during the winter period, on 24 and 25 December. The ticket has a price of 8 euros but there are reductions for schools, teenagers, children and other categories of visitors. The opening hours are generally from 10 to 17 in winter and from 10 to 18 in summer. For precise and updated information on timetables and tickets, or to book a guided tour or a workshop, I recommend you visit the official website of the museum, where among other things you will also find an interesting virtual tour of Dante’s House.