Follow Dante amidst the Romance of Italy
About 700 years ago, the classical Italian narrative The Divine Comedy made people from around the world aware of Dante Alighieri, or Dante, the great artist from Italy who had a great influence on people during the 13th – 14th centuries. People admired him as the father of Italian language, and he also inspired artists later in the next era. Stories of his written dramas were made into paintings, games, and movies. The story of Inferno by Dan Brown (writer of the 2003 mystery thriller The Da Vinci Code) also obtained inspiration from Dante’s work. Most of his work uses beautiful Italian cities. No matter whether you have ever read Dante’s work, we would like to invite you to experience and follow the Roads of Dante with the recently-published “Best in Travel 2021,” the most-awarded and sustainable traveling route from Lonely Planet.
Follow the Road of Dante
The charm of Italy was presented, fascinatingly, through poets, connecting the beauty of the two regions where Dante used to visit – starting from Florence, the capital city of Tuscany and Dante’s hometown, passing by villages around Chianti, and ending at Ravenna, a city in the north of Emilia-Romagna where Dante’s grave is located. The route is 395 km. long and was considered a historic route during the time when Dante was banished from Florence due to political conflicts. This route passes many scenic spots, such as waterfalls, mountains, ancient castles, a fortress, a church, and ancient buildings. If you have 2-3 days, we recommend you rent a car and live a slow life while you travel. There is no fear of getting lost because there are always signs along the way, or if you like trekking, there is the most memorable, classic poet trail.
Touch of Tuscany’s fascination
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with beautiful scenery and grass fields on the hills, surrounded by cities, with Florence as its capital. We started our trip from Florence when the first autumn sunlight shone over the city – ideal for taking photographs from every angle. As we walked along the alleys, we noticed the city was still free of skyscrapers. Everything has remained the same for hundreds of years, and the city has a sense of romance, like a scene from poetry that made us think, if Dante could take a walk here today, he would surely spend time on the streets watching people and observing life. While sightseeing, you may, more or less, be inspired by the art treasures and architecture of Florence. There are many examples of artistic heritage, such as Florence Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, Piazza Della Signoria, Dante’s Monument and the Ponte Vecchio, and the Bridge of Love, with an impressive legend from Dante’s history which tells the story of love at first sight. When Dante was 9 years old, he fell in love with a beautiful woman named Beatrice. Nine years later he met her again at this bridge. Dante’s literature works “The Divine Comedy” and “Vita Nuova” were inspired by love at first sight.
Road Trip in Tuscany: Florence to Chianti
After walking around Florence for a whole day, it was time to resume our journey. Our car gradually sped up, taking us through the beautiful rural areas of Tuscany. Our destination was Chianti, a small town located not far from Florence. What was interesting about Chianti was the gorgeous landscape of vineyards located on the hills along the roads, taking turns with views of endless, long grass fields that looked so comforting. Many people may know Chianti for its fame as a wine-producing region, but in reality, Chianti has something more interesting. These are old villages that still preserve ancient traditions which should not be missed, such as Gaiole, Radda, Castellina, Panzano, and Greve. If you drive, we recommend you stop and take a slow sightseeing walk around the towns. Find a local restaurant and sample traditional Tuscan food. Watch local arts, or relax and get to know Chianti for a night or more. Your happy memories will be unforgettably recorded.
Road Trip Emillia Romagna : Bologna – Ravenna
From Tuscany we travelled to Emillia Romagna, located in the north of Italy. We stopped at Bologna, the old and charming capital of the region. The atmosphere in the town provided a mystical feeling in the old Italian style. A notable travel experience was when we stopped at the Piazza Maggiore surrounded by the Basilica of San Petronio church, Travi fountain, and the City Hall. We stopped to taste delicious Gelato at La Sorbetteria Castiglione, as recommended by the local people. Then, we drove another hour to Ravenna, another charming town, famous for its mosaic, and the last place Dante visited before he died. We then travelled along the route sightseeing Roman buildings and old churches, but what we liked the most was the architecture’s missing mosaic in the Baptistry of Neon, the neo classical design of Italian architect Camillo Morigia, and Dante’s grave which attracts people from around the world who wish to remember the great poet, writer and philosopher.
– Most places where you can stay in Florence, Tuscany or Ravenna were developed from old buildings. There are no elevators, so plan carefully when considering the weight of
your travel bags.
– The ZTL sign stands for Zona Traffico Limitato, or a speed limit zone. If you ignore the speed limit, you will be fined.
– Most restaurants, shops, buildings and hotels do not accept credit cards, so carry sufficient cash.
– The word “Latte” in Italian means “milk”, so if you order a Latte, you will get a glass of milk (not a cup of coffee made with milk).