La Vita Nuova (pronounced [la ˈviːta ˈnwɔːva]; Italian for "The New Life") or Vita Nova (Latin title) is a text by Dante Alighieri published in 1294. It is an expression of the medieval genre of courtly love in a prosimetrum style, a combination of both prose and verse. Besides its content, it is notable for being written in Tuscan vernacular, rather than Latin; with Dante's other works, it helped to establish the Tuscan dialect as the basis for the Italian language.
The prose creates the illusion of narrative continuity between the poems; it is Dante's way of reconstructing himself and his art in terms of his evolving sense of the limitations of courtly love (the system of ritualized love and art that Dante and his poet-friends inherited from the Provençal poets, the Sicilian poets of the court of Frederick II, and the Tuscan poets before them). Sometime in his twenties, Dante decided to try to write love poetry that was less centered on the self and more aimed at love as such: he intended to elevate courtly love poetry, many of its tropes and its language, into sacred love poetry. Beatrice for Dante was the embodiment of this kind of love—transparent to the Absolute, inspiring the integration of desire aroused by beauty with the longing of the soul for divine splendor.