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Birds of a feather flock together

Historical Curiosities

Birds of a feather flock together

How many times, speaking of people who are particularly similar, did you happen to utter the proverb: ‘Birds of a feather flock together’! If so, you were, maybe unknowingly, using an intellectual citation from Dante. Although the meaning is the same, Dante’s original phrase is a little more articulate: 'From Montelupo you can see Capraia. Birds of a feather flock together'.

This sentence refers to one of the most troubled moments of the life of the great Florentine poet, namely his exile following the struggle between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The pro-papal party belonged to the first faction, while the pro-monarchist party belonged to the latter. Dante Alighieri was accused of not taking a firm enough stance towards the Guelphs and for this he was exiled and defined as the 'fugitive ghibelline'. Montelupo and Capraia also belonged to the two different factions: Montelupo was a Guelph stronghold and Capraia instead a Ghibelline one. It seems, however, that, thanks to a speech that Farinata Degli Uberti held in the two villages, the two towns began to get closed to each other towards a republican vision.

The anecdote relating to the Dante’s quotation narrates how the poet, moving away from Florence on horseback, had passed near Montelupo and Capraia, which actually faced each other on two opposite hills. Seeing them facing each other and also thinking of their political closeness, the Florentine poet would have pronounced the famous phrase. Dante hoped that, as was happening with Montelupo and Capraia, the Florentines would change their minds and welcomed him back with open arms ... a hope that, however, as we know, never turned real.

One last interesting snippet: the quote 'From Montelupo you can see Capraia. Birds of a feather flock together' is engraved on a thirteenth century jug exhibited nothing less than at the British Museum ... so, if you are passing by, do not miss this all-Tuscan 'gem' in London!

If you love Dante and medieval stories of intrigues and mysteries excite you, you will surely have read Dan Brown's best-selling book 'Inferno'. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it, also because a substantial part of the book is narrated in Florence. Are you saying you would like to watch the movie too? Sure, but you can go a step further! Why not book our engaging 'Inferno by Dan Brown: tour in Florenceì? By participating in this exceptional itinerary, you will admire the places and masterpieces meticulously described in the book and relive the frantic adventures of the protagonist Robert Langdon!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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