On May 15th, 1865, to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the birth of Florence's most famous son, a statue of Durante degli Alighieri (1265-1321) was unveiled to the public.
The sculptor was Enrico Pazzi (1818-99), who hailed from Ravenna (where Dante is buried), and for little over a century the statue of Italy's greatest poet graced the centre of Piazza Santa Croce.
However, in 1968 the powers-that-be decided that the piazza should once again host the annual calcio storico (historical football) and so the statue was relegated to its present position.
Crowned with a coronet of laurel leaves, Dante holds his masterpiece, the Divina Commedia, in his right hand. An eagle (symbol of divine justice), its wings half unfurled, perches at his feet.
At the base of the pedestal stand four shield-bearing Marzocchi (the Marzocco is the heraldic lion of Florence). On each of the shields is written the title of one of the poet's works.
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