In real life, Beatrice “Bice” di Folco Portinari 1266–1290) was a Florentine woman, the daughter of a banker. In the imagination of Italy’s greatest poet, she appears as Dante Aligheri’s guide in the Divine Comedy.
In ‘La Nuova Vita’ Dante says “Beatrice appeared dressed in noblest colour, restrained and pure, in crimson, tied and adorned in the style that then suited her very tender age.”
DANTE’S LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT OF BEATRICE
‘At that moment, the vital spirit which lives in the most secret chamber of my heart began to tremble, and said “Behold, a deity stronger than I; who coming, shall rule over me.”’
Indeed, Dante frequented parts of Florence where he thought he might catch even a glimpse of Beatrice, who was known to be devout.
“Where might I catch sight of this most tender of angels, so that in my youth many times I went searching, and saw her to be of such noble and praiseworthy manners that she did not seem to be the daughter of a man, but a god.”
Dante’s was a personal intellectual journey from doubt to faith; his guide was Beatrice, a woman who became an angel.
As Dante’s incarnation of beatific love, it is Beatrice who leads the poet through nine heavens into the Beatific vision.
In real life Beatrice married another man and died at age 24. Dante always called her ‘la gloriosa donna de mia mente” – the ‘glorious lady of my mind.”