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Located in the vicinity of Bertinoro, Polenta is famous for its Parish church of San Donato in Polenta, Romanesque basilica prior to the 10th century and sung by the poet Giosuè Carducci. The idea suggested by Carducci that Dante might have stayed as a guest in the house of the Polenta lords from Ravenna is widespread. Every year the church hosts readings of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri as well as lectures and discussions of works of the poet Carducci. The only surviving elements of the ancient castle are some ruins atop the close homonymous hill. The site commands a splendid nocturnal view over the valley down below.

Address: 47023 Bertinoro (FC), Italia
Telephone number: Bertinoro Tourist Office +39.0543.469213
Fax: +39.0543.444588
Web site:

Altitude: 247 mslm
Surface: 200 kmq

Analytical text

The origin of the name Polenta is uncertain and an early mention of its Antonian castle occurs before the year 1000. Apart from the Polentana family who ruled over Ravenna at the time of Dante’s exile, the hill is famous for the Church of San Donato mentioned since the 9th century. The church was sung by Carducci who regularly visited the hills around Bertinoro and it is believed that Dante, while staying at the House of the Lords of Polenta, used to pray. Today the church shows the form of a basilica with exposed beams and central nave roof which is a continuation of the side roof. The columns are large and round, made of local bricks and local stone surmounted by cube-shaped capitals with bas-reliefs representing Arabesque geometrical patterns, grotesque figures of animals and men reflecting different styles, from the Lombard to the Byzantine art. A mythical cypress, known as Francesca from Polenta, the lover of Paolo Malatesta, has contributed to increase the fame of the hill. The Church and the cypress are still today linked with illustrious names and is a popular destination for pilgrims and cultural tours. A large numbers of brides and bridegrooms choose this location for their wedding in memory of Francesca’s love.
Every year in the month of September is held the Carducci Meeting, sessions of lectures and readings attended by men of letters and ordinary people around the bust of the poet inaugurated in 1932. Inside the church are also held two cycles of readings (in spring and autumn) dedicated to Dante (Lecturae Dantis).
Unfortunately the church is not well maintained because of the passing of time and burocratic problems.

How to get there

Polenta is 4 kilometres from Bertinoro.

Ultimo aggiornamento lunedì 5 marzo 2018


Torna indietro

Comune di Forlì - Piazza Saffi, 8 47121 Forlì - Tel. 0543 712111
Partita IVA: 00606620409
A cura della Redazione di Turismo Forlivese, Diaz, 21 - 47121 Forlì -

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