Gaville in Dante’s time: two events to celebrate the Supreme Poet

On September 11 and 18, a concert and show titled “Atlante poetico della Toscana” takes place in the sites mentioned in Canto 25 of Inferno

Gaville Castle

In the last verse of Canto 25 of Hell, Dante mentions Gaville, a small town in the countryside near Figline Valdarno. Gaville celebrates the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death with two special events. The Schumann Quartet will perform a concert on September 11, while on September 18 the show titled “Poetic Atlas of Tuscany – Journey with Dante in the villages and cities” will be held, followed by the affixing of a plaque inscribed with the verses of the Divine Comedy dedicated to the episode that took place in the historic castle of Gaville.

What happened in the Castle of Gaville

In Canto 25 of the Inferno, Dante witnesses the bloody transformation of a man and snake. The man is Buoso, who becomes a reptile. Dante writes, “The other was he for whom Gaville wept”. According to interpretations, this is Francesco Cavalcanti, the thief who passed through Gaville and was murdered by locals for reasons that were never clarified. The revenge of the Cavalcanti family on the population of the Gaville people was ferocious, causing much death and destruction. This episode made such an impression on the poet that he wanted it immortalized in the Comedy.

The two events on September 11 and 18

The Parish Church of San Romolo in Gaville will host the concert by the Schumann Quartet at 9.15pm on Saturday September 11. The clarinet group from the Schumann Music School of the Garibaldi Municipal Theater is made up of Lapo Braccini, Stefania Ducci, Franco Berti and Andrea Tinacci. They will perform a programme with music by Händel, Bach and composers from the early twentieth century such as Henri Tomasi, Vittorio Monti, Clare Grundman and Charles Gounod. Free admission, reservations required (online at www.fiv-eventi.it or by phone at 055 9125304).

The celebrations then continue on Saturday September 18, starting at 5.30 pm in the historic village of Gavillaccio, not far from the parish church, where the castle once stood in which Francesco Cavalcanti is likely to have been killed. A marble plaque showing the tercet of the Comedy in which Dante mentions the bloody episode will be placed there. The houses, streets and the historic remnants of the castle will then be the setting for the “Poetic Atlas of Tuscany – Journey with Dante in the villages and cities“, a project by the Accademia dei Mutamenti, Arca Azzurra, Compagnia Lombardi-Tiezzi and I Sacchi di Sabbia, featuring a travelling show of readings, acting and music, with Lucia Socci as narrator and violin by Valentina Albiani, with the participation of Lorenzo Bartoloni. On the occasion, the small publication titled “Gaville at the time of Dante” published by the Municipality of Figline and Incisa Valdarno will also be presented and distributed. The review of local history and art is curated by the art historian Daniela Matteini and aims to reconstruct the historic community of Gavillaccio through an interview-story, in search of the legacy left to the village by the now disappeared castle.