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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dante in the Marche Region



Poetry Food Wine and Eroticism



Dante Alighieri was a statesman, poet and father of the modern Italian language. May 29th 2015 will be the 750th anniversary of his birth in Florence. As a literary figure, Dante is placed alongside Homer and Shakespeare, creators of larger than life characters.

The Divine Comedy, his defining work, is, among other things, a first for the Italian language and a representation of the spiritual, personal and political circumstances of his time. The latter led Dante into exile from Florence, including in Marche where he provided profound inspiration to the local culture.


Urbino is remembered by Dante in the 27th canto of the Inferno in a dialogue with Guido of Montefeltro, the local lord. Fiorenzuola di Focara owes it notoriety for having hosted Dante Alighieri in a baker's house where the poet experienced the emotion of strong gusts of wind lashing the promontory on which stands a castle by the sea creating the most incredible and dangerous currents.

The Gradara Castle and rocks live in the hearts of lovers all over the world; here, the love story between Paolo de Malatesta and Francesca da Polenta - better known as Francesca da Rimini – blossomed, came to a tragic end was eternalized by Dante in the V canto of the Inferno. You can view the altarpiece by Giovanni Santi, father of Raffaello Sanzio – Raphael.  Pesaro is not directly cited by the poet, however it maintains strong connotations to Dante because Gianciotto de’ Malatesti, nicknamed the Cripple, was mayor of this seaside town and is buried here. Dante consigned him to Hell.

Fonte Avellana Dante spent much of his life in the footsteps of Pier Damiani, to whom he dedicated the 21st canto of Paradise in the Divine Comedy. He also visited Mount Catria in search of a peace and tranquility denied him in his native Florence.


Dante and the Gastronomical Traditions of Marche There is a rich presence of food in the Divine Comedy and his other works, including lentil soup laced with wine, figs, apples, honey and vin santo; in all, 14 courses are portayed in the Convivio. Also well-known are the cantos dedicated to the gluttons in both Hell and Purgatory that accompany his constant hunger; he even coined the neologism “scuffare”- to eat avidly and noisily. There is a rapport between diet and eroticism: the gluttons come right after the lustful in Inferno’s 6th canto and, in Purgatory, those that fall to temptations of the senses are presented in the last of the seven frames.

A Unique Culinary Experience
Help prepare truffle dishes and other Marchigiano specialties in these magical surroundings. Ask our local partner Giorgia about upcoming food and wine events in the Val Metauro.
 
Some Dishes inspired by Dante

Tartare of Madonna Bellaccoglienza these are the classic waffles from Abruzzo wrapped with aged cheese, making them a cannoli. Madonna Bellaccoglienza is the sensual protagonist of the novel in verse "The Flower" which Dante wrote translating from the French "Roman de la rose".

Glauco Omelette a cheese omelette, served hot and in wedges, with algae or herbs that make it gently magical. Glauco, the legendary fisherman of Boeotia, places his catch on a bed of herbs, then sees them take heart and jump back into the sea. He ate the algae, turned into a fish and became a marine deity.


Suppa alla Beatrice a barley soup of barley with tricolor vegetables sprinkled with grated aged cheese. Beatrice, dressed in white, red and green, announces that God’s righteousness is not afraid "soup", referring to the curious Florentine custom of forgiving even the most serious crimes if the perpetrator could eat a soup dish at least 7 times at the crime’s site without getting arrested. ("Paradise" 33rd). 


Mense alla Virgilio the Piadina of Romagna. Virgil, Dante's guide in the Divine Comedy,
tells him from the Aeneid that the Trojans acquired the custom of eating piadine with their food during a stopover in Africa; a culinary tradition they introduce in Rome and later in Romagna (Inferno 1st).

Acqua Lete When Dante reaches Earthly Paradise, he is baptized in the Lete River and continues his journey to Celestial Paradise (Purgatory 28th).

 
Torta di Frutti Misti a pie made of applese, pears, figs and plums, present in all religions.

Vini dei Colli di Romagna famous area wines – sangiovese, albana, rebola, vini di sabbia.

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