What is the world capital city of love? Verona because of Romeo & Juliet? Venice because the romantic melancholy of the Laguna? An Italian city for sure… But, wait: why not Florence?
In the middle of the Dark Ages, while the daily life is usually a bet between life and death, a beautiful love story arises in Florence.
It is the love story between Dante Alighieri and Bice Portinari, better known from Dante’s works as Beatrice (literally, from Latin “Beatrix”: the beatitude – giver).
Dante Alighieri (1265, 1321: 2015 is his 750th anniversary, another reason to visit Florence and its huge cultural heritage) is one, and probably the most important, of the fathers of the modern Italian language. The most famous and important work from Dante is the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), a huge poem about a “trip” from (literally) Hell to Paradise via Purgatory. The Divine Comedy is a milestone in the development of the Italian language, and it epitomizes the philosophy and history of the Middle Ages.
Dante will use Beatrice as a “character” in the Divine Comedy (she will be his guide in the Paradise ascension), but it is another work from Dante, La Vita Nuova (The New Life) which is dedicated to Beatrice.
Dante met Beatrice just two times in their lives: when they were just kids and when they were 18 – 19 years old.
Bice / Beatrice married another man and she died very young (not unusual in the Dark Ages…), Dante married another woman, but Beatrice’s memory endured, and Beatrice became Dante’s muse: La Vita Nuova is a collection of poems dedicated to Beatrice.
In the subsequent years two more poets from the Florence area, Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio, had their lives and art changed and inspired by women: Petrarca by Laura, Boccaccio by Fiammetta. So: lots of love in Florence!
Florence: love is still in the air
And Florence is still not only a beautiful city, but a great destination for a romantic escape.
Just a little bit off the beaten track you can find moving glimpses of untimed beauty.
Narrow, cobbled alleys, silent courtyards in Renaissance buildings, medievals squares where you’ll meet not tourists but just the Florentines, with their sense of humour and attention for all that’s beautiful.
Florence is just the perfect city to enjoy with a loved one!