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Municipality of Ravenna

Zone of Silence

Via Dante Alighieri, 9 - Ravenna
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Today, the Dante Zone is a portion of the historic centre of Ravenna whose main focus is Dante’s Tomb – the small neoclassical temple designed by Camillo Morigia in 1780-1781 to house the mortal remains of the great poet. This area is the result of a series of urban works, carried out between the 1920s and 1930s, which gave it the features that still characterise it today, earning it the nickname “Zone of Silence”.

The redevelopment that took on its current appearance in 1936, thanks to the design of architect Giorgio Rosi, was in fact intended to create an area of respect, peace and tranquillity around Dante’s tomb, the Quadrarco and the Franciscan cloisters. The aim was to isolate the area from traffic and the noise of city life, thus giving the place an atmosphere of contemplation and sacredness that the proponents of the work envisaged for Alighieri’s “last refuge” on earth.

Through a series of demolitions and reconstructions, the opening of new squares and the diversion of city traffic, the development of this area constituted a fundamental step in the urban history of Ravenna, and the episode was not relegated to local interest only: the works were also made possible thanks to the direct involvement of the then Fascist government which, demonstrating the centrality that the figure of Dante had always held in its cultural identity, made it an object of pride for the entire country.

FOCUS

Ravenna wants its ninth Unesco Heritage Monument

Also in view of the seventh centenary of his death, in 2016 the Ravenna municipal administration began the process of obtaining Unesco recognition of the entire area of tribute, that is, including in the Tomb of Dante project, the garden with the Quadrarco of Braccioforte and the Franciscan cloisters, in which the Dante Museum is located.

The letter of request was forwarded at the end of 2015, which saw the city of Ravenna nominated Italian Capital of Culture and engaged in the celebrations of the seven-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Dante Alighieri, to Professor Puglisi, the then President of the National Commission for UNESCO, by the Municipality of Ravenna, the Archdiocese, the Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual Centre, the Cassa di Risparmio and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna.

The “Zone of Silence”, with the Tomb of the Supreme Poet and the Quadrarco di Braccioforte, the ancient Franciscan Cloisters housing the Museum and the Centro Dantesco dei Frati Minori (Dante Centre of Friars Minor), and the Basilica of San Francesco, where Dante’s funeral was celebrated, with its churchyard and square – as the official request document states – “represents one of the most evocative areas of our city, It is the identity and cultural sign of a legacy that goes beyond the Ravenna area and takes on universal value, the seat of numerous initiatives of great importance that keep alive the memory of Dante’s work and interpret it not only with scientific rigour but also with contemporary passion”.

In essence, in the vision of the promoters, Ravenna preserves the spiritual and material traces of Dante Alighieri’s presence in an urban context that since the last century has been known as the “Zone of Silence” and which, even today, “is one of the most visited and best loved places, not only by the people of Ravenna”. In fact, the project boasts extensive national and international connections.

Further information

A cura della Redazione Locale
E-mail: turismo@comune.ravenna.it

Last edit:4 February 2021

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