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  • From 29/10/2020 to 31/03/2021
    Dante 700 (Santa Maria Novella)
    Un ritratto di Dante e i luoghi del poeta nelle fotografie di Massimo Sestini

    The photography exhibition “Dante 700 – Un ritratto di Dante e i luoghi del poeta nelle fotografie di Massimo Sestini (Dante 700 – A portrait of Dante and the poet’s places in the photographs of Massimo Sestini)” was held in the former refectory of the monumental complex of Santa Maria Novella. Organized by MUS.E and sponsored by the City of Florence and the Florentine Civic Museums, it also had the support of the Ministry of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism, and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

    The exhibition was one of the first of a series held in the Quirinale rooms in Rome, where it ran until October 11, kicking off the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the death of the Great Poet. Calling upon the artistic advice of Sergio Risaliti, art critic, curator, writer and director of the Museo Novecento in Florence, and the scientific advice of Domenico De Martino, professor at the University of Pavia and director of the Dante 2021 festival in Ravenna, “Dante 700” is an exciting journey – in 23 special shots – that takes us in search of the legacy left to us by the author of the Divine Comedy.

    Massimo Sestini, an internationally renowned photo-reporter, pursues this theme and analyses it with a highly original eye and experimental and unconventional photography techniques. It ranges from Florence to Ravenna, where Dante’s remains are preserved, passing the source of the Arno River on Mount Falterona. But it also goes to Venice, Rome, Verona and Poppi, to discover – like a true reportage – to what extent the poet’s countenance continues to be part of our lives.

    Sestini’s eye, exciting and never banal, always looks to the future, avoiding that picture postcard affect by also using innovative equipment. By mounting an ultralight camera on a telescopic pole, Sestini literally lifts the viewer to the height of the statue of Dante in Piazza Santa Croce, in Florence, deserted due to Covid. However, to photograph the artist Enrico Mazzone as he works on his 97-meter-long Divina Commedia inside the Covered Market in Ravenna, Sestini uses a drone.

    And again, in the waters of Venice’s Lagoon wearing mask, fins and snorkel, the photo-reporter must cope with the water buses in order to immortalize “La barca di Dante”, a work in bronze by the Georgian sculptor Georgy Frangulyan.  Among the exhibition highlights are two other photos that offer unprecedented points of view.  The first is an incredible image of the Last Judgment by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari that adorns the dome in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. It is the first time that the fresco has been photographed from top to bottom, and this was achieved by lowering a radio-controlled camera with a fishing line from the top of the cathedral’s lantern, 85 meters above the ground.

    The second is a symbolic image of Florence which – seen from above – becomes a planet: this was achieved by projecting, from a helicopter, an omnidirectional 360°-camera with a spherical view tied to an eight-metre long pole.


    There are also many shots from news stories, including high school students grappling with Dante’s tercets and street art works that creatively celebrate Literature’s great genius.


    For the Florentine segment, the photography exhibition is enhanced by three special images which illustrate the depth of the relationship between Dante and Florence. One photo portrays the tour guide Riccardo Starnotti during one of his spectacular tours to explore Dante’s places: dressed as Dante, he recites the Divine Comedy from Piazzale Michelangelo. There is Dario Cecchini, the butcher of Panzano in Chianti, with a “carnivorous” version of Dante’s poem. And finally, there is the photo in which the statue of Dante in Piazza Santa Croce is reflected in a pool of water: an evocative vision that brings the poet closer to us.


    Accompanying the 23 shots is a Renaissance masterpiece: a wooden door from the Palazzo Vecchio Museum, made in 1480 by Giuliano da Maiano and Francesco di Giovanni (known as Francione), based on a drawing by Sandro Botticelli. The full figure of Dante is portrayed in wood inlay. It is a precious work, both for its intrinsic value and the image of the poet handed down to us by him.

    Enel, the official sponsor of “Dante 700”, has always been committed to enhancing the energy released by the sparks of culture, art, and poetry. These values are rooted in the history of the large Italian company. In helping the country to develop, today Enel has become one of the global leaders in the energy transition. Dante’s greatness makes him a timeless, eternal poet, capable of bringing together past, present and future, and also giving hope to humanity during the difficult time we are currently experiencing. Enel supports the “Dante 700” exhibition because it is committed to the constant quest for beauty, innovation and sustainability, qualities that are capable of creating long-term shared values for the communities and generations of tomorrow.
    In January 2021, “Dante 700” will be hosted in the main foreign capitals, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Italian Cultural Institutes.

    Completing the exhibition is the book of photography, “Dante 700”, edited by Massimo Sestini and published by Centro Di (International Centre for Documentation of the Arts), a collection that includes over 40 shots, all of the photo-journalist’s work dedicated to the poet.
    Opening hours

    Until November 30, from Thursday to Monday from 11 am to 5 pm; Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm. From December 1, from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm. Last admission 4 pm.


    The ticket is included in the tour of the Santa Maria Novella Complex. Full price 7.50 euros; discounted 5 euros (11-18 years); free for children under 11 and residents of the Municipality of Florence.

    Entrance permitted every 15 minutes. The visit is one-way, as required by the anti-Covid19 regulations.

    complesso di Santa Maria Novella (ex Refettorio)
    Il biglietto è incluso nel percorso del Complesso di Santa Maria Novella. Ultimo accesso ore 16:00. Accesso ogni 15 minuti. Il percorso di visita è unidirezionale, come previsto dalle disposizioni anti-Covid19.
    La prenotazione è consigliata: acquisto online http://bigliettimusei.comune.fi.it/

    MON closed
    TUE closed
    WED closed
    THU 10 am - 5 pm
    FRI 10 am - 5 pm
    SAT closed
    SUN closed

    € 7,50
    Full price
    € 5,00
    Reduced (11-18 age)
    € 0,00
    Free (0-11 age)

    Ufficio stampa MUS.E

    Lorenzo Galli Torrini

    Tel. +39 333 3222377

    email: lorenzo@gallitorrini.com


    Ufficio stampa Comune di Firenze

    Elisa Di Lupo

    Tel. +39 055 2768531

    email: elisa.dilupo@comune.fi.it