Introducing Dante

Dante's life

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in 1265. We do not have an exact day for his birth, but we do know that he was born under the sign of Gemini.

Very little is actually known about Dante which comes from sources external to his work; most of what we do know derives from his own writings. We know that Dante's mother, Bella, died between 1270 and 1273, and that his father, Alighiero, died the year Dante turned eighteen. Shortly after his father's death, Dante was married to Gemma Donati, with whom he had four children: Jacopo, Pietro, Giovanni and Antonia. We also know that from the mid-1290s he was actively engaged in Florentine politics and that in 1300 he was elected, for a period of two months, as one of the seven Priori governing the city of Florence. In 1302 Dante was condemned to exile from Florence. During his exile he found refuge and hospitality in a number of locations in central and northern Italy, most notably in Verona and Ravenna. Dante died in Ravenna on 13 or 14 September 1321.


© Vittorio Montemaggi, Matthew Treherne, Abi Rowson

This resource is a collaboration between the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies at the University of Leeds, and the Devers Program in Dante Studies at the University of Notre Dame