Was Inferno based on catholicism? I have never read it but would like to. Was Dante catholic?
Dante Alighieri lived in Italy before the Protestant Reformation so yes, he was Catholic. The Divine Comedy (which contains Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno) is considered the greatest work ever written in the Italian language. It was also one of the first.
That being said, it is still a work of fiction. The specific punishments in Hell, the specific people he meets there, etc, are his own interpretation and poetic license. Some of the people in Hell are popes, mainly due to the politically charged climate of Florence at that time.
I love the Inferno (the whole Divine Commedy series, all 3 books actually).
I think the quality of the experience you get from reading it is going to depend a little on who the translator was, and what commentary the added to help you understand the times and the culture Dante wrote it from. Mark Musa is my fav. He doesn’t try to make it rhyme like it does in the original Italian, and he uses normal modern vocabulary. I think translators who force it into rhyme in english compromise the wording too much (i.e. Singleton). Entire college courses about Dante exist to help you mine the depth that is in there for as much as you can. It can be a dry read the first time around, but allowed to ferment in your mind it gives back a lot, really grows in you, inspires.
But, all that aside, I think most theologians have usually agreed it was pretty much on target as far as doctrinal correctness, though itself a fictional work.
Hope you read it and enjoy it.