You can’t talk about Italian literature without mentioning Dante Alighieri who peacefully rests in Ravenna. I’d say that his Divine Comedy (Divina Comedia) is, perhaps, the greatest Italian literary work the world has ever known. It’s a classic that must be read whether you’re a believer of hell, purgatory and paradise or not.
If you were told by one of your guides or a local in Florence that Dante is buried in their city – ignore it. There’s no truth in that. That “tomb” you see in Florence is nothing but air inside. Empty – that is. It’s nothing but a memorial to Dante who was born in Florence.
But what’s this myth about Dante’s tomb lies in Florence? Well, in 1519, Pope Leo X directed that Dante’s bones be moved to Florence but the Franciscan monks at the nearby monastery stole them away and hid them for more than 300 years. It was re-discovered in 1865 – by chance!
It was by now, the hour that turns to home
The longing thoughts of seamen, melting hearts
The day they’ve said goodbye to dearest friends
And when by love the pilgrim, new to this
Is pierced to hear, far off, the evening bell
That seems to mourn the dying of the day
Behind Dante’s tomb, you’ll find Basilica di San Francesco where the Italian poet’s funeral was held here in 1321. On the opposite side of the basilica, you’ll find the former home of Lord Byron (an English poet) on your right.
It’s a day trip east of Bologna. Take a train in the morning and you’ll be there in an hour and a half later. Once you arrived at Ravenna Train Station, turn on your Google maps and start walking. It’s quite a walk to get to Dante’s tomb. It would take you around 20-30 minutes. For one day itinerary, read it here.
Just in case you decide to stay in Bologna for a night and leave very early the next day, stay at Stazione Centrale. When you arrive, do not exit at the front / main gate. Go to the back exit / entrance and from there, it’s just 20 meters away.
Well, you know, solo travel is not for everyone. Should you decide to go on with a tour group, go with – Intrepid Travel. They have a wide variety of tours for all ages and different kinds of travelers, including solo, seniors, teenagers and family.