The “Dante Days” initiatives organised by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Institute of Culture in Lisbon have kicked off in Portugal. Yesterday, 23 September, the Italian Ambassador in Lisbon, Carlo Formosa, inaugurated the event-packed programme dedicated to the Supreme Poet in a ceremony held at the prestigious Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The "Dante Days" will feature a series of events in Lisbon celebrating the visionary power of Dante, who over the centuries has influenced the entire poetic imagination in Western and Portuguese culture.
Conceived by the Italian Embassy in Portugal and the Italian Institute of Culture in Lisbon – in collaboration with academic and cultural institutions from Portugal, Italy and the Vatican – the commemorations opened with the inauguration of the exhibition "Visions of Dante: Botticelli's Inferno", featuring a selection of manuscripts and rare editions of the Divine Comedy from the Vatican Library, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the Portuguese National Library and the Pina Martins Collection. This will be followed by a lecture by Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça entitled “We are all called to build visions. The Divine Comedy as a pedagogy of vision.”
Today, Friday, 24 September, at the Italian Embassy, the “Premio Roma” Prize will be awarded to the Portuguese writer António Mega Ferreira, author of numerous works dedicated to Italy and Dante. On this occasion, the publication of a new translation of the Divine Comedy by publisher Imprensa Nacional, intended to celebrate Dante's 700th birthday, will be announced.
On Saturday 25 September, Dante scholars and intellectuals from different international backgrounds will gather in Lisbon at the conference "Dante: a poet of our time". Numerous scholars from all over the world, including Giulio Ferroni, Carlo Ossola, Miguel Tamen, Paola Nasti and Alberto Manguel, will discuss the impact of the Divine Comedy on Western culture.
The programme, sponsored by the Italian Embassy, will continue on 27 September with the first lecture of the cycle "Lectures on Dante", in which Alberto Manguel and Lina Bolzoni will address the relationship between poetry and memory in Dante. This will be followed in October and November by a series of lectures on the influence of Dante in Portugal, held by eminent Portuguese Italianists, including Rita Marnoto, Isabel Almeida and Jorge Vaz de Carvalho. Finally, from September to November, the Gulbenkian Foundation will host a review of art, music and literature in which Dante's work is revisited and reinterpreted by a number of artists from different periods and disciplines, from Botticelli to contemporary Portuguese sculptor Rui Chafes.