In the Marche, it is possible to visit the place where took place the story of Francesca and Paolo narrated by Dante
Out of a list of worldwide destinations, Lonely Planet nominated Marche as the second Best in Travel 2020. This region of central Italy is full of wonderful places and one of them is, without any doubt, Gradara Castle.
Gardara is a perfectly preserved Medieval village in the province of Pesaro e Urbino.
Its peculiar characteristics are a double line of medieval walls and an imposing castle that is open to the public. Many famous noble families owned it including Malatesta, Montefeltro, Della Rovere, Borgia, and Medici. The castle is mostly known to be the place where, in 1289, took place the tragic love story between Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Polenta.
Francesca was Paolo’s sister-in-law and she was married to his brother Gianciotto, but they were in love with each other. Many poets wrote about their tragic passionate story. However, it was Dante who made it truly popular narrating it in the V canto of the Divine Comedy’s Inferno. In the masterpiece, Francesca and Paolo are in the second circle of hell, reserved for the lustful. There, they are trapped in an eternal whirlwind, doomed to be constantly swept through the air like they were swept away by their passions.
In memory of this love story, the village celebrates lovers for over 10 days starting on Valentine’s Day. During this time, a rich calendar of events enlivens the quiet village with romantic suggestions. At night, thousands of candles illuminate the castle and the medieval alleys. Lovers can to fish a love sentence in the Well of Poems and leave their signature in the Book of Lovers.
Moreover, as at any other time of the year, it is possible to visit the castle. Here you can enter the room in which Francesca and Paolo were caught by Gianciotto. Other interesting rooms are Lucrezia Borgia’s bathroom, the council room, the red room. In the cellars of the tower, there is also the torture room. And it is possible to stroll on the walls’ walkway, used in the Middle Ages by the garrisons of the castle.