Retracing Dante's footsteps means setting off on a unique journey through art, history, culture and spirituality in Tuscany from the second half of the thirteenth century through to the early fourteenth century. It’s a journey to be undertaken slowly, going back in time.
If we let ourselves be guided by his words, we slide into the visionary universe of his Comedy, a collision between the classical and medieval world, between the real and the extraordinary, between life and beyond life. We relive the experience of a lost pilgrim in search of direction and salvation, like all of us.
In his verses, physical places are intertwined with an ultramodern imagination, taking us to the Devil's Valley with its infernal fumaroles, or to the places linked to the characters whose history, and often their torments, he details. For example, there’s Sovicille, linked to Pia de 'Tolomei; the Mugello, dominated by the Ubaldini at the time; Empoli, whose Palazzo Ghibellino overlooks the piazza dedicated to Farinata degli Uberti, and much more.
There’s also another possible path, a common thread through his history as a passionate politician and then his exile, following him on his route from town to town, from one home to the next with the unattainable desire to return to his città partita. Following the map of his places, we feel his attachment to Florence, from the Baptistery of San Giovanni where he was baptized to the Basilica of Santa Croce, watched over by the statue that portrays him and the keeper of his funeral monument. From here, we wander alongside the Supreme Poet on his way away from home: at the Abbey of San Godenzo on June 8, 1302 he began his exile which led him to the Castle of Giovagallo in Tresana where he was a guest of the Malaspina family, and then on to the Castle of Poppi in the Casentino where he was welcomed by the Guidi Counts, and finally up to Ravenna, where he died in 1321.
Seven hundred years after his passing, Tuscany celebrates Durante degli Alighieri, known as Dante, a man of the past who seemed to come from the future who was able to masterfully speak of current history, philosophy, geography and religion, that’s so close to today. With great generosity, he gave us incredible imagery that’s still the subject of study and a source of inspiration for artists all over the world. In addition to this enormous cultural and intellectual heritage, Dante gives us the opportunity to discover our region in a renewed light. There are many paths to follow through villages, castles, abbeys and monasteries, along rivers and on the ridges of the Apennines, in a thousand stories with open endings.