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Photo of Dante's Tomb in Ravenna

Visit Dante's Tomb in Ravenna

Dante's tomb is a small building in the centre of Ravenna in north-east Italy where the renowned poet, Dante Alighieri, is interred.

The tomb is situated next to the square where you can also visit the Basilica of San Francesco, the church where Dante's funeral took place.

Discover Dante's tomb in Ravenna

Italy This Way review: although the tomb is small and unexceptional, and a visit takes very little time, for many visitors to Ravenna (including me) it is very interesting to see the final resting place of this great poet and and founder of the modern Italian language

Inside Dante's tomb in Ravenna

Dante died on the 13th September 1321, and a chapel was built here at the time of the his death by the Lord of Ravenna. This original chapel was replaced in the 15th century.

The chapel that we see today was built in 1780 by the cardinal Luigi Gonzaga, on the same site as the earlier chapels, and it is the coat of arms of this cardinal that you can see above the entrance to the tomb.

Inside the chapel there is a sarcophagus that contains the bones of Dante, with an inscription in Latin that was written in 1327. Above the tomb there is a relief of the poet, a work of art that was created by Pietro Lombardo in 1483.

The authorities in Florence have alwys claimed that the remains of Dante should be in their city - a claim they continue to make to this day - because Dante was born in Florence around 1265, lived most of his life in that city, and only left when he was forced out by political struggles.

In 1519 Pope Leo X authorised the transfer of the skeleton of Dante to Florence, but before the transfer could take place the nearby Franciscan monks hid his skeleton.

They kept it hidden until 1865, a period of nearly 350 years. When the skeleton was rediscovered, it was placed in the sarcophagus. Next to the sarcophagus you can see a wreath in silver and bronze, placed in 1921 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the death of Dante.

Hanging from the ceiling of the chapel you can see a lamp that burns with olive oil from Tuscany, a gift from that city that takes place each year.

 
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After looking in the chapel you can explore the garden behind the tomb. At one side of the garden is an area surrounded by a fence where there are two 5th century sarcophagi. Among the trees of the garden you can also see the place where the skeleton of Dante was temporarily buried during the Second World War to ensure it remained safe.

The belltower that is next to the garden, and part of the basilica of San Francesco, rings its bells every evening. These ring 13 times, to represent the opening section of the 8th canto of the Purgatory section of the Divine Comedy, in tribute to the author:

It was the hour when a sailor's thoughts, the first day out, turn homeward, and his heart yearns for the loved ones he has left behind, the hour when the novice pilgrim aches with love: the far-off tolling of a bell now seems to him to mourn the dying day (Canto 8, Purgatory, Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri)

There is no charge to look inside Dante's tomb: visitors can look into - but not enter - the tomb. There is likely to be a queue in front of you and behind you so you will probably have to look and take your photos in about 60 seconds! The garden area will take a few minutes to explore, but overall your visit will not take long.

garden behind Dante's tomb

Attractions nearby

You can visit the Basilica of San Francesco, where the poet's funeral took place, very close to the tomb of Dante - the basilica has an interesting crypt which is part of an earlier 5th century basilica. The tourist office for Ravenna is also in the same square.

For travel guides for the many sites of byzantine mosaics in the town see the Ravenna guide.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Emilia-Romagna guide.

See also: 

Photos of Dante's Tomb in Ravenna

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Map of Dante's Tomb in Ravenna and places to visit

 
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Dante's Tomb in Ravenna places to visit

Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna

Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna

The Rasponi crypt is the underground chapel of an 18th century palace, next to a large courtyard garden

Rasponi Crypt and gardens in Ravenna guide
Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna

Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna

The Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna is a 10th century church where the funeral of Dante took place

Basilica of San Francesco in Ravenna guide
Ravenna

Ravenna

Ravenna is world famous because of the exceptional mosaics and several 6th century churches in the city

Ravenna guide
Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna

Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna

The Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna is a tiny 6th century chapel decorated with byzantine mosaics

Archbishop's Chapel in Ravenna guide
Ravenna Arian Baptistery

Ravenna Arian Baptistery

The Arian baptistery in Ravenna was built in the 5th century and retains its original mosaic ceiling in the dome

Ravenna Arian Baptistery guide
Ravenna Baptistery of Neon

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon is one of the most ancient Christian baptisteries, built in the 5th century and decorated with mosaics

Ravenna Baptistery of Neon guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Emilia-Romagna

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