Florence

Nun says she inspired Benigni's love for Dante

Oscar-winner 'discovered poet in my class'

Nun says she inspired Benigni's love for Dante

Florence, June 26 - Oscar-winning Italian actor and filmmaker Roberto Benigni's love of the Medieval poet Dante was inspired by a Tuscan nun, according to the former teacher. Benigni, famous as a comedian but also as a passionate performer of Dante's epic poem the Divine Comedy, was first exposed to the so-called father of the Italian language while studying at a technical institute near Prato. His guide to the 14th-century poet was Sister Teresa D'Alessandro, who taught him literature in his final two years of high school. D'Alessandro, who retired after 40 years of teaching to run a religious house, recalls that Benigni showed "a keen interest" in Dante and his through hell and into redemption. "He was truly brilliant and imaginative," recalls his former teacher in an interview with the daily Tuscany Today. At the time of the 1969 moon walk by American astronauts, she recalls, Benigni was one of the few students able to analyze the international event in the context of the broader purpose of human life. D'Alessandro says she would enjoy meeting Benigni again, "but it is likely that I have been forgotten".

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