On one side of Padua’s grand piazza called Prato della Valle, there are statues of Giotto and Dante. Giotto is holding his painter’s palette and seems to be sizing up the task of painting the frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. Dante is holding pen and paper, and looking decidedly grim. Perhaps he is thinking about some lines from the Divine Comedy.
These two contemporaries, Giotto and Dante were both Florentine’s, and tradition has it that in 1306, Dante came to Padua as Giotto’s guest, while the artist was in that city painting his magnificent cycle of frescoes.
Dante put Padua’s Reginaldo degli Scrovegni, a notorious ursurer, in the Seventh Circle of Hell in his Inferno. Reginaldo’s son Enrico was also a money lender and built the Scrovegni Chapel as a penance, hoping to get his father, and himself, out of Hell.