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A Gay and Lesbian tour in Ravenna:
On the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, in 2021
‘The Divine Comedy, Italian La divina commedia, original name La commedia, long narrative poem written in Italian circa 1308–21 by Dante Alighieri It is usually held to be one of the world’s great works of literature. Divided into three major sections—Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise)—the narrative traces the journey of Dante from darkness and error to the revelation of the divine light, culminating in the Beatific Vision of God.(from ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’)
During his journey to Hell, in Chant XV (fifteen), Dante meets a ‘damned’ whom he addresses to in a very respectful way. That soul is Brunetto Latini’s, Dante’s beloved Maestro, who was openly homosexual. Dante asks Latini to pronounce the prophecy about his future….
Ravenna is the place where Dante wrote his ‘Paradiso’ and where he was buried after his death. The Poet was widely inspired by this town and its Byzantine Art. From the mosaics of San Vitale Basilica, where Theodora enjoys the company of unscrupulous courtesans and Byzantine eunuchs. The nearby Calcinelli Quarter, the ‘red light’ area until World War II, leads to ‘Piazza del Popolo’ and to the Palatine Chapel of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric. Here, the mosaics of ‘Sant’Apollinare Nuovo’recall the Purgatory: in Chant XXVI (26th), Dante meets the Sodomites. Amongst them Guido Guinizzelli, the ‘Dolce Stil Novo’’s father, who strongly influenced Dante’s poetry. Guido Guinizzelli stands between two lines of souls meeting and kissing, as per Emperor Caesar’s example. Caesar’s bisexuality was well known during the Roman times. He stopped in Ravenna, in front of Rubicon River in 49 B.C. before marching on Rome.
The tour continues to Paradise, from the Alighieri Theatre to Dante’s tomb and the ‘Quadrarco of Braccioforte’ heading to the Classensis Library. Here, a plate recalls the library’s director –Santi Muratori. -and the story about his homosexuality. In 1910, in his attempt to conceal his homosexuality, Muratori got married to Cordula ‘Lina’ Poletti, definitely lesbian and the first dandy lady in Europe. Cordula was also a poetess: in 1920, she used to dress up like a man and hoarsely read Dante’s love declaration to Virgin Mary (33th Chant, Paradise) addressing to Countess Eugenia Rasponi in the beautiful Dante’s Library Hall. Cordula as a declared lesbian, openly used to express her love to actress Eleonora Duse and writer Sibilla Aleramo.
This a three-hour walking tour, which explores Ravenna in 2021, celebrating 700 years since Dante’s death
NOTE: At less than ten minutes drive from Ravenna, you can reach the famous nudist beach of ‘Lido di Dante’: the place was named by priest Don Mesini, in 1921. Nearby is the ‘Lido di Classe’ and both beaches recall the ‘Divine Comedy’ toponymy. This in not included into the guide service
Largo Giustiniano Parking or F.Baracca Square, at the Pedestrian Center
Meet your guide 15 minutes before departure
Discover the town which strongly inspired ‘The Divine Comedy’ and unveil that historiography of notorious characters who lived their sexuality with strong influences from the poem…and how the poem dive into sodomy.
Visit San Vitale and San Apollinare Basilica, which are well-known for their Byzantine mosaics and, if you have time left, enjoy the ‘Lido di dante’ the nudist beach few minutes away from Ravenna