The presence of Dante in Ravenna is subtle, yet massive.
Many are the places dedicated to him, the ones he visited, in which he lived, and the ones that inspired him.
Over time, the city returned to the Supreme Poet that prestige benefited from his presence and work, turning him into the source of inspiration and paying him homage, adding modern traces to his passage.
This one-day itinerary makes you discover a contemporary Dante, showing all the artistic and cultural fervour this personality still arouses.
Colourful, deep in thought, the face of Dante, with its 3 metres height. It’s the street art work of the Brazilian Kobra in the very central Via Pasolini to start our one-day itinerary.
After Chicago, London, Tokyo and a lot of other places all over the world, Kobra brought his art on the external wall of the primary school “Filippo Mordani”, creating a colourful and extremely contemporary mural in the heart of the ancient centre of Ravenna.
The mural was created in 2017, during Subsidenze, a festival that in a few years has embellished the buildings and the streets of the city with more than eighty works, always visible.
From the city dock to the Brancaleone fortress, from the sea to the city centre, a number of buildings ‘wear’ these – usually huge - works of art, turning Ravenna into a little Romagna capital of street art as well as a reference point at national level.
Blub is an Italian artist who deals with street art in an alternative, ironic and tiny way that you can spot in thirty different places spread across the city.
"L'arte sa nuotare" (“Art knows how to swim”) is a series of famous characters of history, represented by Blub underwater and with diving equipment. Marylin Monroe, Van Gogh, Magritte, Santa, Dalì and, as a good Florentine, he couldn’t miss to pay homage to Dante Alighieri.
In Via Armando Diaz, in the pedestrian area you reach coming from the station, you will find a Dante in profile, with his typical red dress and the laurel on, but also wearing a black diving mask. Behind the mask, he seems smiling.
The itinerary is leading us to the "Zona del Silenzio" ("Area of Silence"), an area dedicated to the Supreme Poet. Maybe it’s for this reason that Dante’s holding his breath, leaving just a few bubbles, seems almost natural, as if he’s inviting us to silence and contemplation.
The whole area, including the Basilica of San Francesco, in which the solemn funerals were held, offers one of the most beautiful views in the city.
Passing ancient flooring, little piazzas and porches, you can breathe the tranquillity and the good living that marks Romagna.
In the courtyard of the library “Alfredo Oriani”, in September, the month dedicated to Dante Alighieri, takes place “Dante plus”, a collective exhibition of works of art coming from all over the world.
Very different artists from one other take part in this project, finding in the life and in the texts of the Supreme Poet the same inspiration. Cartoonists, sculptors, painters and illustrators at international level find themselves reunited for a temporary and ultramodern gallery dedicated to Dante.
If you want to see the works outside the period of the exhibition, you can contact Bonobolabo, leader of the project.
The museum TAMO - All the adventure of the mosaic hides a lot of treasures and offers a series of guided tours, workshops and multimedia experience. But you will discover them in the itineraries dedicated to the mosaic.
Just to give you a sneak peak: the courtyards of the museum, once the church of San Nicolò, is host the section “Mosaics between Inferno and Paradiso”, which is a collection of 21 works on Dante, commissioned to great artists of the 20th century and translated into mosaic by artists of the mosaic school of Ravenna.
Turn on the headphones. The music starts. All around, the people are unaware of what’s happening, of what you are listening to.
The voice of Dante speaks and tells his story, of how he arrived to Ravenna, of how the city looked like in the past, of how he wasn’t just a man of letters but also a politician and a knight in battle. And then…
This is only the beginning of “Silent Play for Dante”, an immersive walk across the streets, squares, historic buildings and museums to discover the experiences of the Supreme Poet, from his own voice, and from the voice of the city.
Following an expert guide of Ravenna, you will explore for over an hour the history and the stories about Dante, walking from the Basilica of San Francesco to his tomb, from the Tamo museum to the Roof Gardens of Palazzo della Provincia.
Wear the headphones and let yourself be carried away.