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A Dantesque district exists in Florence. It is enclosed by Piazza della Signoria, Orsanmichele, the Tower of Castagna, the oratory of Buonomini of San Martino and Badia Fiorentina: in short, it is the medieval heart of Florence, wedged between the houses made of stone with the rising towers.

il battistero

The tower houses belonged to various rival families, the Cerchi and Donati families, which declared themselves loyal to the Whites or Black, the factions that caused Dante, who supported the White Guelphs, to be exiled from his hometown and to have no possibility to come back.
In this small part of the city, there is also Dante’s House, a very popular museum that is a fake and it is important to clarify it immediately. The house was built in 1906 in the area originally occupied by the houses owned by the Alighieri family. Opened in 1911, the Museum has been organized several times.
Close to the House the oratory assigned in the fifteenth Century to the Buonomini association, which took care of the needy, overlooks the little square of San Martino. The Oratory has frescoed lunettes.
On the other hand, Dante’s Church, or Church Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi of was genuine and ancient. Here, a wedding was celebrated between Dante Alighieri and Gemma Donati; within these walls, in their graves rest both the Donatis and the Portinaris, the relatives of the angel-like woman, Beatrice, whom Dante met right here.
A nineteenth-Century English painting by H. G. Holiday in the Church shows a meeting between the poet and the young woman on the side of the River Arno.
Beatrice was born in the street called via del Corso, where now stands the Salviati Da Cepparello Palace, on whose façade there is a commemorative stone with Dante’s verses.  Young Beatrice, who married Simone dei Bardi, died at just 24 years of age.
The small streets flanking the Duomo, via della Canonica, via delle Oche and via Sant’Elisabetta (where visitors can admire the only, ancient, round tower in Florence, so-called Tower of the Pagliazza), still have a Medieval appeal.
A Dantesque itinerary cannot be completed without “mio bel San Giovanni” (my beautiful St. John), as the Baptistery of Florence, where Dante was baptized, is remembered in the Inferno.
If we are looking for Dante’s tomb, then we should go to Ravenna where he died in 1321; in fact, created in 1829 by Stefano Ricci, Dante Alighieri’s Cenotaph is in the Basilica of Santa Croce.
Published: 15/10/2014

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