Source: Dante’s home museum
In 1865, on the occasion of the sixth centenary of Dante’s birth, the municipal council of Florence established a commission composed of the historians Frullani and Gargani in order to precisely locate the houses of the Alighieri.
After a thorough research and on the basis of “irrefutable” archival documents, the commission managed to identify the houses of the Alighieri family, precisely in that place indicated by tradition. Once resolved the issue of “where” the houses were, is then given the task to the Falcini architect to conduct all necessary investigations to establish how those buildings appeared at the time of Dante. The Municipality of Florence, “whereas every aspect of the Divine Poet must be sacred to the Italians”, started negotiations for the purchase of the houses. It was also thought to restore them and retrieve the original state as much as possible… but the economic conditions of the time defer the decision to a later date.
Only in 1911 the City started working on the “recovery and reconstruction” of Dante’s house, committing the work to the architect Castellucci: the corner houses were demolished to give place to a small square, tearing down all the elements that formerly Falcini believed extraneous to the house of the Alighieri. After the demolition an “architectural reconstruction” is needed, based on a series of hypothetical reconstruction projects.
If, in some ways, the intervention can be considered questionable for the numerous licenses and the majesty of a such “excellent place“, it certainly has the advantage of being part of the architectural revival current.