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Dante in Umbria
Places of culture

Dante in Umbria

An itinerary on the trail of the Supreme Poet starting from the Colmollaro Castle close to Gubbio up to Foligno, where the first copy of the Divine Comedy was printed.

If you love literature and history, we recommend you two ideal places to celebrate in 2021 the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death.

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Colmollaro Castle

First stage of your trip it is the Colmollaro Castle, about 10 km from Gubbio, where, according to tradition, the Supreme Poet stayed. This sandstone castle enjoys a superb view along the way to Galvana and to Serra Brunamonti, southeast from Gubbio, surrounded by silent woods and by a polygonal shape city wall over 400 meters where several loopholes seem to see the surrounding narrow valley engraved by the Saonda stream.

The defensive complex formerly belonged to the fief of a noble family from Gubbio, the Raffaelli. One of its members, the count Bosone Novello, when he was mayor of Arezzo (1315 and 1316 – 17), it is told he became friends with Dante, who was exiled in that town, and later he hosted him into his fortress. The two men had the same political orientation: they were Ghibellines.

According to literary tradition the Supreme Poet, father of Italian language, wrote to Colmollaro, around 1318, a triplet of the XI canto of Paradise, dedicated to Saint Francis, where he also described the land you are visiting: “Intra Tupino e l’acqua che discende del colle eletto dal beato Ubaldo, fertile costa d’alto monte pende (…)”.

It is a detail that makes more exciting to visit the medieval fortress, even if the situation of up to date research certifies that the first documents about the actual castle date back to the second half of the XIV century, an era that casts doubt about the previous Dante’s presence in this place.

Whatever’s happened, this castle is able to take you back to that time with the gloomy and secretive charm of its quadrangular tower high approximately 20 meters, still untouched, in addition to the large courtyard and the donjon composed of two floors, the main one for stately rooms, the lower one intended for storage. It is also part of the complex a small church dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, dating back to XII century, which keeps inside a few fragments of the ancient frescos.

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Make your way back and in less than an hour you can reach the Museum of Printing in Foligno, second stage of your tour on Dante’s trails.

Here, on April 11th 1472, was printed the first copy of the Divine Comedy, which had from the beginning an extraordinary publishing success.

The authors of the first print edition of the poem were the typographer from Mainz Johannes Numeister, a Gutenberg’s student (the father of printing) who worked with Evangelista Angelini, from Trevi, and with the pontifical mint worker from Foligno Emiliano Orfini.

Visitors can admire just a page of this precious book – the only one available to the Museum – exposed on the first floor: it is the triplet of the XI canto of the Paradise.

And the emotion of your exploration is now complete.


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Colmollaro Castle
: it is privately owned and usually opens on the occasion of the Spring Days organized by Fai
Museum of Printing: Foligno, via Pertichetti no. 6 – tel. +39 0742 330584