by Giuliana Cantini, ph. Francesco Noferini, Sandro Zagli

Dante Alighieri an exile between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna

Even as that stream which holdeth its own course
The first from Monte Veso tow´rds the East,
Upon the left-hand slope of Apennine,
Which is above called Acquacheta….

(Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, c. XVI)

A land that was of great inspiration to the exile Dante Alighieri about to write his “Comedy” was San Godenzo, last stronghold of the land of Tuscany before crossing the border towards Emilia-Romagna in the heart of the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests. The Poet Master loved those places so much that he mentioned the waterfall of Acquacheta in his “Inferno”. But not just that: legend has it that the beautiful sultry area called “Gorga Nera” (lately the subject of an environmental recovery) inspired Alighieri with the well-known “Selva Oscura” (Dark Wood).
That Dante Alighieri passed through San Godenzo is now a fact: it was 1302 when in the Benedictine Abbey, which still stands within the historic centre, the convention between Guelph and Ghibellines exiles took place. The struggles in Florence between black Guelphs on one side and white Guelphs and Ghibellines on the other, brought to the expulsion of the latter faction of the city, with a death sentence in absentia for Dante issued in January of the same year by the Podestà of Florence, Cante Gabrielli da Gubbio. The Whites fled and Dante with them, who found exile at his friends’, the Counts Guidi in Casentino. Whites and Ghibellines, however, schemed revenge and plotted their return to Florence: thus the Convention at the choir of the Abbey of San Godenzo. Substantially, the San Godenzo Convention took place to set up an agreement among the noble families exiled from Florence, with notarial deed drawn up by the notary Ser Giovanni Buto d’Ampinana, to financially guarantee the Ubaldini family, lords of Mugello, should they undergo an attack by Florence on their castle Castello di Montaccianico.
An evocative story with reliable historic sources but allows for dreams and the thought that the magic of these places was fundamental for the birth of the most loved work of Italian literature. “Dante Ghibellino” takes place every year to celebrate the convention of San Godenzo, this year fixed for Saturday…and Sunday… July.

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