The Divine Benigni does Dante

Italy’s favourite performs thirteen ‘Divine’ nights

Editorial Staff
July 13, 2006

Take one of the worlds most striking piazzas. Fill it with the verses written by one of historys most important poets, and recited by Italys most beloved and controversial entertainer. The place to be this summer is Piazza Santa Croce for thirteen nights of Dantes Divine Comedy presented by actor/director Roberto Benigni. For almost a fortnight, the father of the Italian language and the master of contemporary Italian cinema will meet in the heart of the city in front of thousands of enthralled listeners. The journey will start in the entrails of the earth and take the modern traveller through the first ten cantos of the Hell, finishing off the infernal tour with Cantos XXCI and XXXIII. Benignis last night will bring a slice of heaven to the piazza as he invites the public to ex-perience the last canto of Paradise. Each night well touch on a different topic, Benigni explained in a recent Florentine press confer-ence held in Palazzo Vecchios Salone del Duecento. Because Dante talks about everything, about lifeabout the things that are rele-vant today. After the first 10 cantos, how can we not read about Ulysses, Count Ugolino and the last of Paradise? It will be magnificentwith the statue of Dante in the piazza and the basilica behind us! Dante in one of the most beautiful places in the world; its a celebration for the whole city, for the mayor, for everyoneand the whole population is invited.The initiative, organised by the City of Florence and Melampo Cinematografica, thanks to contributions from the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, will host more than 5,000 people.Tickets can be purchased for 15, 20 and 25 euro. Dante junkies can get their hands on a six-night pass for 100 euro while guests intent on tuning in for 13 evenings can pay a bargain price of 200 euro. This event is not only a fantastic show, it is something deeper, that truly investigates the essence, history and life of the city itself, says Mayor Leonardo Domenici. Its a true cultural project that will help us rediscover the soul of FlorenceUniversal City that springs from Dante, our Universal Poet.'The idea of presenting this lectura Dantis here, said Domenici, sprouted from Benignis recent success in Patrasso, Greece. He called me with the idea of bringing Dante to Florence. And it was all I could do to thank him and accept his proposal with enthusiasm. The show will grace the city on July 25, 26, 28 and 29 and continue August 5,6,8,9,11,12, 17, 18 and 19. For ticket sales call: Box office at 055/210804.

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