Widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, The Divine Comedy is a culmination of three allegorical poems that describe Dante's journey through the anguish of Hell, the grueling demands of Purgatory, and finally, the eternal salvation of Heaven. s composed of 14,233 lines that are divided into three canticas (Italian plural cantiche) â€“ Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise) â€“ each consisting of 33 cantos (Italian plural canti). An initial canto, serving as an introduction to the poem and generally considered to be part of the first cantica, brings the total number of cantos to 100. The poem tells of Dante's journey through the three realms of the dead, lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory Beatrice, Dante's ideal woman, guides him through Heaven. Beatrice was a Florentine woman whom he had met in childhood and admired from afar in the mode of the then-fashionable courtly love tradition, which is highlighted in Dante's earlier work La Vita Nuova.