Carantania in Europe
Dante knew Carantania
Dante Alighieri (1265 - 1321)
Dr. Joko avli
In the 13th/14th century AD, Carantania, the original Slovenian State and later Austria, was known in Europe. One of the proofs provide the works of several Florentines, who gave it the name Chiarentana or Carentana, as for example the poet Fazio degli Uberti (ca. 1309 - 1367), the famous chronicler Giovanni Villani (1276 - ca.1348) as well as Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 - 1375), who said that the river Brenta rises from the mountains of Carantania, that is the land in the Alps, which divides Italy from Germany. The world famous Dante Alighieri too, mentions "Carentana" in his famous work the Divine Comedy, in which he says:
e quali Padoan lungo la Brenta, per difender lor ville e lor castelli, anzi che Carentana il caldo senta.,
and as the Paduans along the Brenta, to guard their villages and their castles, or ever Chiarentana* feel the heat
(* a part of the Alps where the Brenta rises, swollen by melting snows), Inferno, Canto 15.
The beautiful bronze bust of Dante, as presented above, is the work of Antonio Maraini, a well-known Italian sculptor. Around 1930, the bust was donated by the municipality of Florence to the commune of Tolmin, as to perpetuate the memory of the famous poet. Thus, a legend of Dante Alighieri has been preserved in Tolmin. According to the legend, the great poet dwelt here for a brief time as the guest of the Patriarch of Aquileia, who had his summer residence in Tolmin. Indeed, above the nearby canyon of the Tolminka River there is still the cavern, known to the inhabitants as Dante's cave. It is suggested, that the poet found and drew inspiration for his Inferno from the wild abysms of the Tolminka canyon.
|Nevertheless, the inauguration of Dante's bust in the public garden of Tolmin occurred in a period, when Tolmin pertained to Italy, reigned by the nationalistic Fascist regime. Therefore, the inauguration was conceived by the Slovenian population as a gesture of Italianization. After the end of WW2, when Tolmin came under Yugoslavia, the bust was removed and thrown in a rubbish bin. However, a consciences native of Tolmin, who was aware of Dante's grandeur, saved the bust, which thereafter was preserved in the local museum. Some years after Slovenia's declaration of independence, a group of people made an attempt to put the bust back in a public place for everyone to enjoy. Indeed, the poet has no connection whatsoever with any kind of nationalism. But the attempt made by the citizens of Tolmin, because of intervention by ex-Yugoslav circles, did not succeed. The bust was stored anew in the local museum.