Dante’s Tomb – Keep Calm and Wander

Dante's Tomb - Keep Calm and Wander

You can’t talk about Italian literature without mentioning Dante Alighieri who peacefully rests in Ravenna. I’d say that his Divine Comedy (Divina Comedia) is, perhaps, the greatest Italian literary work the world has ever known. It’s a classic that must be read whether you’re a believer of hell, purgatory and paradise or not.

Is Dante’s Tomb in Florence Real?

If you were told by one of your guides or a local in Florence that Dante is buried in their city – ignore it. There’s no truth in that. That “tomb” you see in Florence is nothing but air inside. Empty – that is. It’s nothing but a memorial to Dante who was born in Florence.

But what’s this myth about Dante’s tomb lies in Florence? Well, in 1519, Pope Leo X directed that Dante’s bones be moved to Florence but the Franciscan monks at the nearby monastery stole them away and hid them for more than 300 years. It was re-discovered in 1865 – by chance!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Ravenna’s Magnificent Mosaics at the Basilica di San Vitale – Keep Calm and Wander

Basilica di San Vitale - Keep Calm and Wander

Ravenna is called “The City of Mosaics” for places such as the Basilica di San Vitale. I was dazzled by the Byzantine mosaics that played before my eyes and I couldn’t help but contemplate all its historical attributes of this place, not to mention its architectural magnificence.

The first stone foundation of the basilica was laid in 526 and after treacherous years of construction, it was finally completed by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna known as Maximian.

The Splendid Mosaics of Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna

The basilica has all the elements of Roman Empire from its dome, towers, doorways, and that of the Byzantine elements of narrow bricks, perfectly illustrious mosaics and a polygonal apse. That is the structural brilliance that the place is built with.

However, more than this, what really captures the eyes and the heart of a visitor are the mosaics that are dotted around the building, lining its walls, and creating moving depictions of the old testament – all the way up to the dome.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna – Keep Calm and Wander

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna - Keep Calm and Wander

I am an admirer of ancient art. And when I glance back at the time I spent in Mausoleo di Galla Placidia or the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, I feel that my thirst for the arts, especially the mosaic art, had been partly quenched.

To describe this small mesmerizing place, I’d go with what UNESCO has said about it: “It is the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect.”

1. It is still unknown what the building was built for

Surprisingly enough, by the looks of it, one would think that it is a chapel. The Byzantine mosaics dotted on the ceiling, the walls, and the floor say much about it pertaining to its role as a chapel. However, till date, no one quite knows what it was built for. I asked one of the men there about its story and he said that this building was built by Honorius’ sister Galla Placidia. Honorius was the Roman ruler at that time. Just like me, ahem, Galla Placidia also loved arts and crafts and, reportedly, she poured all of her love in creating the captivating mosaics lining the walls of this place. But more than her love for the arts, it seems that she built it as a mausoleum for her and her family.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Ravenna Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Bologna – Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna - Keep Calm and Wander

I was in Bologna for two full days and nights. However, I only spent a day in Bologna because I spent the second day in Ravenna, a small city which is an hour and 15 minutes by train. Ravenna is a city known for its amazing mosaics, history and architecture. It’s also the final resting place of Dante, a great Italian poet, who wrote Divina Comedia (Divine Comedy).

A Day Trip. Bologna can be reached by 35 minutes by train from Florence. It’s 2 hours from Venice and an hour and a half from Verona.

Let’s just say you arrive at Bologna Centrale at 8 AM. From here, follow the scent of freshly baked brioche and coffee coming from Bar Della Stazione, a little coffee shop that provide pastry, drink and juice to all the people that are running for work. Get a creamy espresso with a full flavor of the best Italian coffee! This will wake you up from the long trip. And don’t forget to bring a bottle of water before you go to your next destination.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna Gay Travel Resources

Bologna From the Top – Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna - Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna is a city that still looks medieval from the streets to the rooftops. And thank goodness, it’s one of the off-beaten paths that tourists skip when visiting Italy. I’m glad I did stop here for two nights without expecting much on what to do and see. After two weeks of backpacking in Italy, I decided to slow down in Bologna. The city is pretty relaxed and there weren’t many tourists when I was there. The main square was a bit crowded but few steps from it, you’ll find a nice place to sit on for a drink or two.

Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. I didn’t know much about Bologna until I came here. In fact, the only clear knowledge I had for the city is its pasta bolognese – which I was pretty sure originated from here. And, of course, I gobbled down on it with much gusto. It tasted good with any kind of wine. Yes, I had three different wines before, during and after the meal.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Visit Italy’s Reggio Emilia – Gay Star News

Reggio Emilia

Situated in Northern Italy, in the Po Valley – about a one-hour drive from Bologna – the town of Reggio Emilia has an ancient history.

In the 11th century, Reggio Emilia was at the heart of the vast territory controlled by Matilda of Tuscany – la Gran Contessa – a powerful feudal ruler and one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments. The castle of Canossa, in the Apennines south of Reggio, was Matilda’s main power-base.

Across the subsequent centuries, Reggio Emilia is a town that has continued to play an important role in the political and cultural life of this part of the world. More recently, it has been referred to as the Tricolour town, because it was here that the future Italian flag was adopted for the first time in 1797.
What to do

The best time to visit this region is during the spring, but at any time of year there’s plenty to explore. Some of the key highlights that you might want to include in your itinerary are:
The Sala del Tricolore (Tricolour Hall) and its Museum, which goes over the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento. Piazza Grande – surrounded by the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Town Hall

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Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Reggio Emilia