Official Tourist Information Site
Municipality of Ravenna

Follow the ways of

Dante Alighieri

All the places in Ravenna linked to the Supreme Poet’s memory

We cannot be one hundred percent sure, but it’s very likely that Dante Alighieri, during his last stay in Ravenna, visited the wonderful churches and basilicas of the city, today Unesco World Heritage, and that he admired the priceless treasures preserved inside.

Dante had already been in Ravenna, presumably in 1303 and in 1310. He also wandered in the pine forest of Classe — «along the shore of Classe, through the pines» (Purgatorio, Canto XXVIII), which he describes as «that forest-dense, alive with green, divine».

This is why Guido da Polenta, the lord of the city, did not trouble much to convince the Supreme Poet to stay again in the ancient Byzantine capital in 1318, choosing it as his last oasis of peace and tranquillity after his long wanders far from Florence.

Dante Alighieri found here the opportunity to be together again with his family, and to end his cherished Divine Comedy.

Of course, the chance to have a source of income, thanks to the representation assignments conferred on him by Guido Novello da Polenta as his ambassador in Venice to doge Giovanni Soranzo helped to convince him.

Ravenna in Dante’s days must have looked quite differently than the one we know today.

The past splendours of the Roman and Byzantine empire where almost a distant memory, and its landscape – poor, unhealthy and surrounded by swamps and canals – must not have been that welcoming.

In this woeful landscape, the mosaics of the ancient Byzantine churches where a source of light and wonder, witnessing the period of grandeur with their precious and highly artistic treasures.

Palaces, streets, basilicas, libraries, monuments and the entire area around the city were, without a shadow of a doubt, the visual and cultural horizon that most influenced the images depicted in some of the cantos of the Comedy.

Even today, his traces and verses echo in many places of Ravenna. They suggest an itinerary of memories and insights in the footsteps of Dante. Citizens and tourists alike can try to glimpse and discover the traces left by the Father of the Italian Language.