Police have arrested a man who allegedly threatened to blow up Dante’s tomb because the famed poet supposedly blasphemed the Prophet Mohammed more than 650 years ago, an official said Saturday.
An unidentified police investigator said a retired Ravenna merchant admitted writing the threatening letters “only as a joke and had no idea all this fuss would have been created.” The merchant was arrested Thursday, the investigator said.
Police were posted at the tomb after Ravenna Mayor Mauro Dragone and a newspaper received letters last week attributed to a group called “Guardians of the Revolution.”
The writer of the letters said Dante, in his classic “Divine Comedy,” placed the founder of Islam in hell. Dante’s epic, a work of more than 14,000 lines in 100 cantos, recounts a poet’s journey through hell, purgatory and heaven.
Police identified the merchant as Vincenzo Strocchi, a self-styled Dante scholar. Authorities have not decided whether to charge him.