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  1. Beatrice Portinari

    Beatrice "Bice" di Folco Portinari was a Florentine woman who has been commonly identified as the principal inspiration for Dante's Vita Nuova, and is also commonly identified with the Beatrice who appears as one of his guides in the Divine Comedy in the last book, Paradiso, and in the last four canti of Purgatorio. There she takes over as guide from the Latin poet Virgil because, as a pagan, Virgil cannot enter Paradise and because, being the incarnation of beatific love, as her name implies, it is Beatrice who leads into the Beatific vision. Scholars have long debated whether the historical Beatrice is properly to be identified with either or both of the Beatrices in Dante's writings. She was apparently the daughter of the banker Folco Portinari, and was married to another banker, Simone dei Bardi. Dante claims to have met a "Beatrice" only twice, on occasions separated by nine years, but was so affected by the meetings that he carried his love for her throughout his life.


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