On Sunday 3 October, in Siena, “100 songs for Siena” took place, an event in honor of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, organized by the Culter association of Florence and Stazione Utopia which since 2006 have had this marathon of Dante’s readings in Florence with thousands of singers. This year the event was proposed in Siena and provided for individual and choral reading on the streets and peculiar places of the city by 300 readers of all ages and professions. Since May 2021, Franco Palmieri, recorder and playwright, has accompanied each participant with online and face-to-face meetings in a path of reading the text. The objective of this preparation was not to make the poet understand the profound meaning of the text, but to immerse the reader in the beauty of the word. In fact, the event does not aim to attract a large group of listeners, but to change the minds of readers who find a text in a public place for free. Another peculiarity of this event is the territorial inclusiveness which also allowed the involvement of social marginalization, including the inmates who read the first canto of the Purgatory in Arabic, French, Romanian, Wolof, Neapolitan and Palermo dialects.
The event itself began at 3 pm in Piazza del Campo with the reading of the first canto of theHell by the mayor Luigi de Mossi, after which each cantor placed himself in the assigned position (a square, a street, a building, a church or a garden of the city) and read with emphasis, in three replicas, the chosen song. The audience listened enthusiastically, often unaware of the profound meaning of the passage and the meaning of each single word, but enveloped in Beauty. The event ended with a choral and moving reading of canto XXXIII of Paradise, in Piazza del Campo, directed by Franco Palmieri.
A successful event, which gave an unexpected and surprising response from both the spectators and the public, eager to savor a bit of live culture.