He was exiled from Florence with his father and brothers Giovanni and Pietro in 1315. He subsequently traveled to Ravenna, where he may have lived with his father. Dante died in 1321, and Jacopo sent a copy of the Divine Comedy to Guido da Polenta, the lord of the city. In 1325, he returned to Florence, where he took minor orders, making it possible for him to become a canon in Verona. At home, he took charge of his family's financial affairs; in 1343, he was able to retake possession of his father's confiscated property.
The Dottrinale has 60 chapters in seven-syllable rhyming couplets; each chapter consists of ten stanzas. It treats matters of astronomy and astrology, faith, the virtues of the Church and the State, love and hate, family, human beauty, and free will. The work is inspired by ancient authors, and sometimes imitates Dante. Divided into two sections, the Dottrinale first deals with the physical order, and then the moral.
The Commento is virtually a terzina-by-terzina commentary of the text of the Inferno, which is the first of the three parts of the Divine Comedy. [Dante's poem is in terza rima, the form he created as the poem's poetic vehicle. The form's three-line stanzas are called terzinas.] Jacopo was one of the very first to write a work of this kind. By 1340, less than two decades after Dante's death, six major commentaries were enlightening, guiding, and informing the work's ever-larger readership. (See Hollander's "Dante and his commentators" in The Cambridge Companion to Dante). The Commento accompanied the copies of the Comedy sent to Guido da Polenta.