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There are several locations in Italy associated with the life and works of Dante Alighieri, the celebrated Florentine poet. Here are 5 places to visit to follow in the footsteps of this literary genius.
Dante Alighieri, one of the greatest Italian poets of all time, has left a cultural legacy of inestimable value. His most famous work, The Divine Comedy, has been an inspiration to generations of artists, writers, and thinkers around the world. But Dante is not just a literary figure, he is also a cultural icon and a symbol of Italian history. The places that played a role in the poet’s life, from his hometown of Florence to the cities where he lived, such as Ravenna and Verona, represent a unique cultural heritage that merits exploring and preserving.
In this article, we will explore 5 cities that inspired the great poet with their astounding beauty and rich culture.
Florence was Dante’s birthplace and this art city offers numerous attractions to learn more about the poet and his era. He spent most of his life here until he was exiled in 1302.
First and foremost, you need to visit the Casa di Dante, a medieval house where he lived for a few years, which now houses a museum. Inside, you’ll find original documents, manuscripts, ancient copies, and a multimedia exhibit on display allowing you to fully immerse yourself in Dante’s life.
Don’t miss the Church of Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, where the poet first met his beloved Beatrice Portinari.
Dante lived in Ravenna in the last years of his life (from 1318 until his death in 1321). He was buried here in the Church of San Pietro Maggiore in San Francesco.
Today, the city hosts Dante’s Mausoleum, a monument dedicated to the poet that contains his mortal remains.
Ravenna is also known for being the city that inspired Dante to compose The Divine Comedy. In fact, the poet spent many years in Ravenna, where he got to know the Byzantine culture and its splendid mosaics, which inspired many of the descriptions of the afterlife in his work.
One of the most important places in Ravenna linked to Dante is the Basilica of San Francesco, where the poet’s tomb is located and where ceremonies and celebrations in his memory are often held.
Other important places are the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, where Dante preached, and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which houses a fresco depicting the poet.
Begin your visit at Castelvecchio, a medieval castle that houses the Museo Civico di Verona with a special section dedicated to Dante Alighieri including manuscripts and documentation on his life.
Continue your visit of the city by strolling in Piazza dei Signori, where you can admire the statue of Dante and the Lamberti tower, which offers a panoramic view of the city.
Finally, the highlight of your visit to Verona is the church of Santa Maria Antica, where you’ll find the tomb of the lord of the city, Cangrande della Scala, to whom he dedicated his Paradise is located.
This Tuscan city had a great bond with Dante. The Florentine lived here from 1290 to 1295, during his exile. During his stay in Pisa, he studied and met various intellectuals of the time.
One of the most important places in Pisa linked to Dante is the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, where a relic of Christ’s crown of thorns is kept, mentioned in The Divine Comedy in a canto of Inferno.
The itinerary continues in the historic center with the Torre Guelfa where Dante found refuge during his exile in Pisa as a White Guelph.
Walking through the streets of the city, you will also find a monument dedicated to the poet: the Tower of San Ranieri, which also houses an exhibition on Dante.
Finally, in Pisa, there is also the National Central Library, which houses one of the most important collections of Dante’s manuscripts in the world. Here you can admire the first editions of the Divine Comedy and other works by the poet, as well as a large collection of manuscripts and ancient books.
Siena is a medieval city famous for its beauty and gothic architecture. Even though Dante wasn’t born here nor did he ever live here, Siena has ties to the poet through the figure of San Bernardino of Siena, a Franciscan friar who was a great follower of the poet and who often quoted him in his sermons.
Dante visited Siena several times and he also met the poet Guido da Montefeltro here, who inspired him for one of the characters in Inferno.
Siena’s Museo Civico has a collection of manuscripts and other documents related to Dante’s life.
These are just a few of the cities associated with Dante Alighieri, but there are many others throughout Italy that are worth visiting to learn more about the life and work of the great poet.