1506, Florence: FILIPPO GIUNTI

The Aldine Dante was to become the new vulgate, but not before a final valiant attempt by the Florentines to reclaim their author with this edition of the poem, commonly referred to as the Giuntina Dante. As before in the case of Landino, the response was to come from the most authoritative level of Florentine culture. On this occasion, the text was prepared by the greatest living Florentine poet of the time, Girolamo Benivieni (1453-1542). Like most educated Florentines of his generation (including Machiavelli), Benivieni possessed a lifelong love and deep knowledge of the poem, informed by profound religious sensibilities nurtured through his association with the Florentine Neoplatonic academy and his friendship with the philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Benivieni was also among the first intellectuals of humanistic Florence to convert to the impetuous and prophetic preaching of Girolamo Savonarola. Benivieni introduces his Dante edition with a chapter in terza rima entitled, "Canticle of the Florentine Jeronimo B. in praise of the most excellent poet Dante Alighieri."

In textual terms, the Giuntina is the most significant 16th-century edition of the poem besides the 1502 Aldine and the Crusca Academy edition of 1595. Benivieni evidently took great care with the text (for the non-Tuscans had again raised the stakes) and on many occasions improves upon the Aldine text, preferring readings which have since proved authoritative. Nevertheless, Benivieni based his correction of the text upon the 1502 Aldine, and it is significant that the 1506 Giuntina was to be the last complete imprint of the poem to appear in Florence during the 16th century, until the Crusca Academy edition of 1595. Dante had meanwhile become an "Italian" classic. And the process by which the Florentine poet became an Italian classic during the 16th century roughly parallels the one by which the essentially Florentine language of the 14th-century Florentine classics, Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, became the national literary language of all Italy during the same period.

The work's publisher, Filippo Giunti (c. 1456-1517) was the head of the Florentine branch of a celebrated family of printers. His brother Lucantonio had been established as a bookseller in Venice since1477, while a nephew worked in Lyons. The Giunti house and shop in Florence was located near the chapel of S. Biagio at Badia. His production from 1497 to 1514 featured Latin and vernacular octavo editions printed in an italic close to that made popular by Aldus. In fact, around 1507, Aldus, who had obtained exclusive rights to the use of his italic type from both the Venetian senate and the papacy, sued Filippo Giunti for copyright infringement. While Giunti did not stop printing in italic, he does seem to have avoided Aldus' titles after that date.