Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri or simply Dante was a famous Italian poet in the late 13th and 14th century. He was instrumental in developing the three line interlocking rhyme scheme. Dante also wrote in Italian vernacular style.

Dante Alighieri

During his life Latin was the preferred language of poetry for educated and royalty. His most famous piece of writing is called Divine Comedy.

Early life

Dante was born in Florence, Italy in 1265 C.E. He was born into a family with political ties in Florence. His father was a supporter of the Guelphs. The group supported papacy in its fight with the Holy Roman Empire.

His mother would die when he was only seven years old. His father Alaghiero remarried after the death of his mother.

Dante was educated at home and was fascinated with Tuscany poetry, music, painting, and art. He read many of the classic Latin works by Virgil, Homer, and Occitan.

When Dante was nine years old he met a young girl named Beatrice Portinari who would be the inspiration for many of works completed by Dante in later years. At the age of 12 years old his father arranged a marriage to Gemma Donati who was from a wealthy and well-known family.

But even though they were married when he turned 20 years old, Dante till had much affection for Beatrice. She would die in 1290 C.E. but she was the driving point for Dante while he was writing La Vita Nuova or The New Life and the Divine Comedy.

La Vita Nuova

Middle years

When Dante turned 18 years old he met several other influential Italian poets like Guido Cavalcanti, Cino da Pistoia, Brunetto Latini, and Lapo Gianni. Together they formed the famous Dolce Stil Novo or The Sweet New Style which was a literary movement in Italy.

In 1289 C.E. he joined the Guelph cavalry and fought at the Battle of Campaldino against the Ghibellines. After the Guelph was victorious the party split into the White and Black Guelph. The difference between the two parties was simple.

The White Guelph wanted more liberty from Rome. The Black Guelph supported the Pope. After the death of Beatrice in 1290 C.E. he would study politics and philosophy. He would also work a pharmacist to help support his family.

In 1301 C.E. the Black Guelph invaded Florence and plundered the city. Danted was forced into exile and left Florence for Bologna. Here he began his work on his masterpiece entitled Divine Comedy. This would be the first piece of literature written in a vernacular Italian language. He would also go on to tutor such famous writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer.

Later Years

In 1306 C.E. he was forced to leave Bologna and traveled to Padua. During 1308 C.E. he wrote three works called Da Monarchia about Emperors in the Holy Roman Empire.

He believed the emperor’s power should come from God and not the pope. This forced the Florentine government to exile Dane for life in Florence. Dante never went back to Florence again.

Dante was supported later in life by Henry VII the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The emperor liberated Florence in 1312 C.E.

He was offered to return to Florence after he paid a fine and apologize in public. He refused and traveled to Verona and in 1318 C.E. he went to Ravenna where he would die in 1321 C.E.

His legacy

Dante is famous for being the first person to write in a vernacular Italian style instead of Latin. His works are now the building blocks for many types of literature including the three line interlocking rhyme. He produced famous pieces of work like Divine Comedy, Da Monarchia, De Vulgari Eloquentia or On the Eloquence of Vernacular, and La Vita Nuova.

Important facts about Dante Alighieri

  • Dante Alighieri also known as Dante was born in 1265 C.E. in Florence, Italy.
  • He was schooled at home and had an interest in Tuscany poems, paintings, music, and art.
  • At the age of nine years old he met a girl named Beatrice Portinari. She would be the influence for many of writing works.
  • He was placed into an arranged marriage to Gemma Donati and married her at the age of 20 years old.
  • Dante was exiled from Florence in 1301 C.E. after the Black Guelph plundered the city under the guidelines of Pope Boniface VIII.
  • He wrote many of his acclaimed pieces of work while in exile including the Divine Comedy, Da Moncharia, and De Vulgari Eloqunetia.
  • Dante is famous for his writing a vernacular Italian style. He also invented the three line interlocking rhyme scheme.


  1. What Italian literary group did he help form with four other influential Italian poets?

Dolce Stil Novo or The Sweet New Style

  1. Who was Dante’s true love for much of his life?

Beatrice Portinari

  1. What type of poetry was Dante credited with inventing?

The three line interlocking rhyme scheme

  1. What was his most famous piece of work entitled?

Divine Comedy