PULICCIANO AND BORGO SAN LORENZO SURROUNDINGS
From the station in Ronta we reach Pulicciano on foot. The town is set in a beautiful location on a hill. Santa Maria Church, which was probably a chapel, is all that remains today of the ancient castle. On the façade we find a plaque dating back to the six hundred year anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri:
“This Fortress, which was, for centuries, no stranger to sieges and battles, attests, in what remains of its walls ―today, on the six-hundredth anniversary of Dante’s death―the assault and escape of Scarpetta Degli Ordelaffi together with the exiled Florentines, the harsh reprisals of Fulcieri de’ Calboli, in March 1303 the happy escape of Dante, and now a symbol of peace …1321-1921”
Ordelaffi―Lord of Forlì, head of the Ghibellines in Romagna, and a man who was tied to the Ubaldini family in political faith and in his marriage to Chiara Ubaldini da Susinana―departed from Montaccianico with a company of Ghibellines and White Guelphs. Dante, who was Scarpetta’s protege and secretary, and who had fought in Caprona and Campaldino, was most likely also with them. The expedition of March 12, 1303 was the second of five attempts by the exiled Florentines to return to Florence after the convention of San Godenzo (1302). Fulcieri da Calboli, the Black Guelph and Podestà of Florence, defeated his adversaries. In their flight to the fortress of Montaccianico, more than 500 White Guelphs were killed, taken hostage, tortured and condemned to death.
After this event, Dante lived his exile far from the “bad and foolish company” with which he had been exiled, “For all ingrate, all mad and impious/ Will they become against thee; but soon after/ They, and not thou, shall have the forehead scarlet” according to the prophetic words of his ancestor the knight Cacciaguida in Paradise Canto XVII, who alludes to the battle of Lastra (1304), and continues to state that “so ’twill be well for thee/ A party to have made thee by thyself”, that is to say that Dante did well to distance himself from them.
Villa Striano, just outside Pulicciano, stands on the ruins of an ancient Ubaldini lookout tower. In 1875 Michele Gordigiani, portrait artist of many great queens, bought the villa. Gabriele D’Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, Arturo Toscanini, Guglielmo Marconi, Giovanni Papini, the Belgian painter De Groux, the philosopher Balbino, the violinist Joachim, and the cellist Cassadò spent many summers here.
Ronta is a quaint holiday resort. Here you can visit the majestic Villa Gerini, the new church dedicated to St. Michael and the old one also dedicated to St Michael.
In the vicinity of Ronta there is the MADONNA DEI TRE FIUMI, with the Oratory and the ancient Margheri water mill, which was probably built around 845, and continues to function. It offers the sale of mill ground products: chestnut flour, corn flour, and common wheat flour.
Photo credits: Sara Fabbri