A flashmob for Dante in the time of our exile
Dante e i tre regni di Domenico di Michelino, 1465, Firenze (Wikimedia Commons)
A flashmob for Dante in the time of our exile
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A flashmob for Dante in the time of our exile

Tips for Home Studying from Italy: 4. Let's read the Divine Comedy. All together.

Daily pills to help students (and families) organize their study in Covid-19 times signed by Marcello Bramati and Lorenzo Sanna, deans and teachers at Faes high schools in Milan. As reported by Time magazine, they are teaching online during the lockdown, in an ongoing experiment in remote learning. Every morning at 8.30 a.m. on panorama.it, starting from March 14, 2020, their advice, tips and good practices for students of all ages.

A few months ago, the Italian Council of Ministers established a day dedicated to Dante Alighieri, called Dantedì (Dante's day), to be marked each year on March 25th. As we were getting ready to celebrate in 2021 the 700th anniversary of the death of the father of the Italian language, we decided to pay homage to Dante, by dedicating him an annual event. Various activities were foreseen, certainly in every school, but also in squares, council rooms, libraries.

The time we are experiencing prevents us from meeting and denies students access to the classroom. But the Supreme Poet is stronger than this contingency and, for him, we are launching an initiative capable (we hope) of uniting all of Italy in the name of his great father.

On Wednesday, March 25th, at 1:00 p.m., we are all called to gather on our balconies and windows to read the first verses of Dante's Inferno, beginning with the famous «Midway along the journey of our life» and continuing on to verse 27. Five minutes of The Divine Comedy, all together, all over the world.

The flashmob aims to reunite us as a people, for a few minutes, capable of a symbolic gesture in the name of culture, held together by a text as extraordinary and eternal as Dante's. But the initiative is also an invitation to travel, to rediscover the Divine Comedy, and more generally Dante, trying to go beyond the symbolic gesture, necessary to pay homage and to restart.

The flashmob will be successful if we all find time to re-read before March 25th the text we are going to recite, trying to make it resonate in its beauty, trying to understand it and make it ours. We will discover that, also nowadays, Dante has so much to tell us and so much to give us to interpret this present time and each of us in it.

Dante's flashmob is intended as the beginning of a cultural redemption, with Dante in the lead and us little followers, guided by the beauty, wisdom, art and courage of the Florentine poet. It will be the first Dantedì: let's make it special, gathering in the presence of Dante who «over the others like an eagle flies», following him as a guide.

The Supreme Poet wrote the masterpiece of Italian literature in very difficult circumstances, in exile. We wish that we also can re-emerge from the exile of our times with similar energy and equal lucidity.

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