Seven centuries after the poet Dante was exiled from Florence, the Tuscan city wants him back – or at least what remains of him.
The author of The Divine Comedy was banished from Florence for political reasons and eventually died in Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, where his remains are kept in a huge white tomb.
Now Florence is probing the possibility of bringing him back ‘home’ for the 700th anniversary of his death, to be commemorated in 2021.
Reclaiming the remains of the poet is potentially big business – around 400,000 people visit his tomb in Ravenna each year.
Born into a noble family in Florence in 1265, Dante Alighieri found himself on the wrong side of the bloody feud between the rival Guelph and Ghibelline factions.
He was accused of crimes that included fraud, extortion and perjury. When he failed to turn up to face the charges, he was sentenced to be burnt at the stake.
He fled into exile in 1302 and never saw Florence again, despite making repeated requests to be allowed to return.
He fled to Ravenna where he wrote much of his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, and died there in 1321.