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Dante's Church

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Sometime last month while commenting to Anne about her upcoming trip to Florence, I mentioned Dante's church. She was curious to know more about this church and I had promised to do a blog entry as soon as I was back home. So here it is including two photos of the interior and one of the façade which I found in Wikipedia.

My husband and I first saw this church in 1999 while searching for Dante Alighieri's house. Dante's house was closed but the church down the narrow street caught our attention as we could hear a beautiful melody being played inside. We stepped in and were enchanted by what we saw: a small, unadorned and rustic church in the middle of Florence’s historic center with wonderful classical music playing on the loudspeakers. A couple of paintings were hung on the wall, one showing Dante meeting his great love and muse, Beatrice Portinari, outside the church. Gracing the front wall was a beautiful altarpiece of the Madonna and Four Saints by Neri di Bicci.

The church, built in the 11th century, is named after the martyr Santa Margherita d'Antiochia, one of Fourteen Holy Helpers or Auxiliary Saints and protector of the parturient. It is most commonly known as the church of Santa Margherita de' Cerchi because of the patronage by the Cerchi family. Dante married Gemma Donati in Santa Margherita and it is also Beatrice's final resting place. Recently her tomb has been a popular place for young women to leave notes asking for divine intervention in matters of the heart.


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Comments (4)

Anne:

Oh Marìa, this little church sounds wonderful. I am definitely going to seek it out in October.
Thanks so much for remembering to post about it!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, interesting to learn about the church of Santa Margherita de' Cerchi. And it was really cool that you happen to stumble upon it while looking for Dante's house.

That was an interesting article (and photo) on the phenomenon of women from all over the world leaving notes on the tomb of Beatrice.

Thanks for the interesting entry.

What a fascinating place! And there's something both funny and poignant about that pile of notes to Beatrice...it's interesting that it's a modern tradition to write to her for help considering how many centuries she and Dante have been "around."

Anne: When you go please take pictures of the interior and exterior of the church. Mine are pre-digital and not so great.

Kathy: I was intrigued when I read about the notes and would have loved to be there to see them. We'll wait for Anne to visit the church in October and report back if there are still letters being left there.

Annie: Good observation about the pile of notes being a recent tradition. I have a picture of Beatrice’s tomb with a single rose. Maybe prior to the notes, people just asked for Beatrice’s assistance in the form of a prayer.

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