Dante Alighieri (around 1265–1321) was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, which consists of him narrating his supposed journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso), is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta (the Supreme Poet). Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are referred to as the three fountains (le tre fontane) or the three crowns (le tre corone). Dante is also called the Father of the Italian language.
Dante was born in Florence, Italy. Although his exact birth date is unknown, some references in his work point to around 1265. He wrote the Comedy in a language he called Italian, an amalgamated literary language based on the regional dialect of Tuscany, with some elements of Latin and other regional dialects. The aim was to deliberately reach a readership throughout Italy, both laymen, clergymen and other poets. By creating a poem of epic structure and philosophic purpose, he established that the Italian language was suitable for the highest sort of expression.