St. Petersburg officials have denied re-registration to the city’s branch of the world-renowned Dante Alighieri Society, insisting its members must agree its name with the great poet himself, Fontanka.ru news website reported on Monday.
The society's members filed documents necessary for re-registration, a standard bureaucratic procedure in Russia, in late 2011. The official response was straight out of Dante's Divine Comedy itself.
“They proposed we change the society’s name or get permission from Dante or his relatives to use it,” the society’s head Marina Samarina said.
City officials did not explain how Dante, who died in 1321, might be contacted.
The possibility of finding the poet’s relatives is also minute, Samarina said. “It’s the same as trying to prove that one is a relative of Homer.”
“This is not a final ruling. We need to fill in the papers and file them once again,” Samarina said.
The Dante Alighieri Society promotes Italian culture and language worldwide. It was formed in Italy in July 1889.