‘Dante Vivo’, centuries-old texts of the Divine Comedy on display in Pistoia

The exhibition in the Forteguerriana Library includes a rare first edition from 1472 and a manuscript of Paradise from the end of the fourteenth century

Dante e Beatrice
Dante and Beatrice

‘Dante Vivo’ is the title of the exhibition set up in the Forteguerriana Library in Pistoia that will be on display until December 31, 2021. It’s an exhibition of rare and valuable texts that are among the oldest in Italy. Relating to Dante’s work, the exhibition itinerary starts from the fourteenth century and leads to the present day. Part of the display includes the very rare Foligno edition of the Comedy from 1472, printed not many years after Gutenberg’s invention of printing. Also on display will be a manuscript that contains a copy of Paradise from the end of the fourteenth century and the Divine Comedy printed in Brescia in 1487, featuring invaluable woodcuts. An intriguing curiosity will be a nineteenth-century “pocket” Comedy, and another transcribed on a single sheet. All the works in the exhibition are kept in the Forteguerriana library.

The exhibition itinerary

The bibliographic-documentary exhibition on display in the Gatteschi room is divided into three sections: the first is Dante in his lifetime, focused on the years between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with the first printed editions of the Divine Comedy and two important collections of lyrical poems. The second section of Dante Vivo looks at the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, offering visitors examples of Dante’s works preserved in the Forteguerriana, while the third, titled ‘Su Dante per Dante’ focuses on the fifteenth century through to today (Pistoia and surroundings), dedicated to contributions and projects carried out in honour of the poet by scholars that are in various ways linked to Pistoia and its historic library, such as the Petretum songbook by Tommaso Baldinotti, Pistoian writer and copyist of the 1400s.

Visitors will be able to participate in presence, in compliance with anti-Covid regulations. Booking is required by calling 0573 371452 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.00-13.30 – Tuesday and Thursday 9.00-13.30 and 15.00 – 17.30).

Additionally, the exhibition can also be visited online on the Forteguerriana Library website, with a programme of lectures soon to be launched that will take place in the spaces of the library in Piazza della Sapienza. The catalogue of the exhibition has been published, designed and written by the curator as a guide to facilitate the understanding and usability of the texts and archival documents on display.


Find the detailed programme of guided tours and more information on the exhibition here.