Love and romance have long been a part of the history of Florence. It is love, in fact, that we have largely to thank for the beautifully romantic Italian language.
Italian as we know it today is based on the original Florentine dialect. Dante rejected the traditional Latin for literature in favor of the vernacular. Many followed in his steps.
“Amor che move il sole e le altre stelle” or “the Love that moves the sun and other stars” is Dante’s reference to God. Love is capitalized as God would be, perhaps a nod to John 4:8, “God is Love”. It is his earthly love, however, who guides him through Paradiso and closer to God.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence around 1265. At the age of nine, he first caught a glimpse of Beatrice Portinari at the tiny church of Santa Margherita dei Cerchi.
Interestingly, Dante’s actual wife, Gemma Donati, is said to have married the future famed Poet in the very church where his love for Beatrice is celebrated today.
Tradition says the grave of Beatrice Portinari is inside, though it is most likely in Santa Croce where her husband is buried. Still, the tradition is lovely.
Atop the grave are letters from lovers all over the world who have visited and left a note asking Beatrice to bless their love.
The day I discovered this church, I left a letter asking to find the love of my life. Visiting the church with him years later was an unforgettable experience.
Why not ask Beatrice to grant you the kind of love that continues through eternity?
Afterwards, treat yourselves to a nice, romantic dinner, perhaps on a rooftop terrace over-looking the Arno.
Not to be missed, if you enjoy a romantic view is a stroll over the Ponte Vecchio at sunset. Stay there together for a while and watch as pastel colors paint the sky and melt into their reflection in the river below.
As sunset gives way to darkness, look up at the stars together and contemplate your very own “Love that moves the sun and other stars.”
Contact us to set up a private tour of Florence and beautiful accommodation.
By Lindsay Sinko,
Passion for Italy, USA