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Florence sorry for banishing Dante

FLORENCE, Italy, July 29 (UPI) -- Florence, Italy, city officials say they want Dante's heir to attend a ceremony so they can formally apologize for the poet's banishment centuries ago.

The author of "The Divine Comedy" lived out his last 19 years in exile and died in Ravenna in 1321.

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ANSA said Florence's City Council approved a motion last month allowing the mayor to lead a "public rehabilitation" of the scribe by revoking the 1302 verdict that sentenced Dante to be burned at the stake if he entered Florence again.

Some historians have said Dante, who was sentenced for fraud, perjury and extortion, was framed by his enemies because he was active in politics.

ANSA said Florence City Council members Massimo Pieri and Enrico Bosi are calling on Dante's descendant, Count Pieralvise Serego Alighieri, to reconsider his decision not to attend this summer's apology ceremony.

But Alighieri told the Corriere della Sera newspaper he doesn't want to attend because of the "petty polemics" he feels have marred the city's move to publicly express regret about what happened to his ancestor.

"When I read about the council session I realized it wouldn't be a heartfelt, collective 'mea culpa' at all," ANSA quoted the count as telling the newspaper. "My heart sank when I read certain remarks from the Communist and Green councilors who voted against the motion."

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