Dante Plaque 8: While fleeing the Malebranche, demons whose duty in Hell is to ensure corrupt politicians are kept submerged in a boiling lake of tar, Dante and Virgil find themselves in the sixth Bolgia of the eighth circle of Hell, which is where the hypocrites are to be found. Hypocrites are forced to march forever wearing dazzling, gilded cloaks but which on the inside are lined with lead so heavy they are cloaks of ‘everlasting weariness’. Two of the hypocrites are former friars from Bologna, and it is with them that Dante exchanges the words shown on the plaque. The plaque is to be found on the side of the house in which Dante is said to have been born, but wasn’t. It’s likely he was instead born somewhere else on the street that bears his name. The building is, as one guidebook accurately describes it, ‘a medieval pastiche dating from 1910.’ The Casa di Dante is one of the biggest tourist traps in Florence.
…’I was born, and grew up, /
On the lovely river Arno, in the great city, /
Inferno, XXIII, 94-95.
In Via Dante Alighieri, on the house Dante is said to have been born (but wasn’t).
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