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Itinerary

Emilia Romagna

Two days on a motorbike discovering the places from the life of the “Supreme Poet”

Duration
2 days
Difficulty
Easy
Best Period
April, May, June, July, August, September, October

The itinerary we are proposing aims to do just that: stirring your enthusiasm by taking a leap back in time.
Hop on your motorbike and set off to discover the places that fascinated the great Dante Alighieri more than 700 years ago.

This picturesque circular route starts in Ravenna, arrives in Florence and returns to the region beloved of the great poet: Romagna. It is no coincidence that this very land is written about in the Divine Comedy: Dante chooses the region that welcomed him following his exile to accompany him even after death.

The route is divided into eight stages over two intense days on two wheels through the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines.
You will be able to visit the areas that witnessed Dante’s escape and see for yourself the castles, fortresses, abbeys, palaces, UNESCO monuments, beautiful villages and verdant landscapes where the Poet stayed, for longer or shorter periods.

Roads to be driven along with bated breath, because they are places of memory, climbing up the fairy-tale ridge of the Apennines, hiding among their ravines the natural beauties that enchanted Dante in the 14th century and that will have the same effect on you. 

Ravenna, home to UNESCO monuments and Dante’s tomb

ravenna unesco dante's tomb

Our journey starts in Ravenna – the place Dante visited last.
This is a city of art, history and culture, rich in monuments and majestic religious buildings, and no fewer than eight of them have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We start at the Basilica di San Francesco, where the Poet’s funeral took place. Next to the small mausoleum, with its distinctly Romanesque forms, is Dante’s tomb, in the so-called Zona del Silenzio, with the adjacent Quadrarco di Braccioforte and the Franciscan cloisters, which house the Dante Museum.

Follow the SP 253 and you will find yourself just outside of Ravenna, your eyes still filled with beauty.

Bagnacavallo, from Purgatory to today

bagnacavallo purgatory

The route continues along the fields of the lower Romagna plain, through terrain marked by the colours of the crops, towards the ancient town of Bagnacavallo. This town is mentioned by Dante in a famous passage in Purgatory.

On the border with the Kingdom of Lombardy in the Byzantine period, the historic defences are still visible today, making it one of the most interesting tourist destinations in the Ravenna area.

Continuing along the SP 253, you will come across another slice of history and culture: Lugo, squeezed between the Senio and Santerno rivers, and then head towards Imola, beloved by motorcyclists for its famous racing circuit.

Brisighella: hospitality and sustainable tourism

brisighella sustainable reception

Following the course of the Santerno River, you will reach Borgo Tossignano and enter the heart of the Vena del Gesso Regional Park, with its pastel-coloured natural beauty. Riding your bike down the gentle bends in the road will be pure fun.

Take the SP 70 and then the SP 23 and ride along the dual carriageway, where you can lean forwards and negotiate the hairpin bends safely, all the way to Brisighella.
Hospitality and sustainable tourism are the cornerstones of this ancient medieval village, which welcomed Dante Alighieri when he fled from Florence, allowing him refuge in the first moments of his exile.
Don’t miss the Rocca Manfrediana, the Torre dell’Orologio clock tower and the Santuario del Monticino.

Portico di Romagna and the Palazzo di Beatrice

portico of romagna beatrice

Leave Brisighella on the SP 56, then take the SP 57 towards Florence. You will reach Modigliana on the border with Tuscany – a magnificent town in the Tramazzo valley and stronghold of the Guidi counts, who hosted Dante in their castles several times.
Taking the SP 21 towards Dovadola, you will reach Portico di Romagna.
Here, you will make your first stop of the day, at the Touring Club Italiano’s Bandiera Arancione site – the same site where the Portinari family, the family of Dante’s beloved Beatrice, owned a palazzo, which still bears their name.

Acquacheta Waterfall and the 16th canto

aquacheta waterfall 16 song

The route starts again along the SS 67. You will pass through the small town of Bocconi, which stretches towards the Muraglione Pass and, after its adrenaline-fuelled curves, you will arrive in the middle of the Parco Nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, at San Benedetto in Alpe.

Here, you can view the marvellous Acquacheta Waterfall, described by Dante in the 16th canto of Inferno. The Apennine landscape, stretching between Romagna and Tuscany, lies before you in all its splendour.

The time has come to take the road down to Florence, the Supreme Poet’s home city, which he loved deeply, and which exiled him on 10 March 1302.

Meldola, via the Selva Oscura

meldola dark forest

Along the busy SS 67 which leads workers and tourists in and out of Florence, you reach Pontassieve, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, and then take the SR 70 towards Poppi.
In a few miles you will be surrounded by the wild beauty of the Casentino forests, crossing the SS 310, which leads you to Stia and then to the Passo della Calla – the “selva oscura” (dark forest) described famously by Dante. This circular route takes you back towards your start point: the descent towards the Adriatic begins, where you will encounter Santa Sofia, Galeata and Predappio.

With the SP 4, full of hairpin bends, you will first climb up to the Rocca delle Caminate, then descend to the Rocca di Meldola. These are the places where Dante lived during his 20 years of exile. Continue to Forli, a city where he stayed several times.

Bertinoro: a natural balcony on the sea

bertinoro towards the sea

Before returning to Ravenna, you must make a diversion to Bertinoro, a natural balcony to the sea, a city of hospitality, which also welcomed Dante at the court of Guido Novello Da Polenta.

Stop for a coffee, perhaps at one of the tables in the main piazza, enjoy the view for a few minutes and then off you go, jump back into the saddle on the last stage of our Poet’s journey and life.

Finally Ravenna...

finally ravenna

You are now very close to the finish line. What will strike you are the pine forests of Cervia and Classe, whose extraordinary beauty fascinated Dante to his core.

From Classe Abbey you will proceed towards the Adriatic, returning to Ravenna – the starting point of your journey and our final stop. Here, you can lose yourself, just like the Poet, in the colourful mosaics, artistic treasures appreciated all over the world.