The Mount of Purgatorio


Pietra di Bismantova has a strong similarity with the mount of Purgatorio, in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Pietra is mentioned in Canto IV, as well as other places with steep cliffs (San Leo, Noli, maybe the mount Caccume depending on lecturers), as a way of describing how steep it is to climb the mount of Purgatorio: they are all mountains you can climb by feet, but on the mountain of Purgatorio “ one needs must fly”.

Quite likely, Dante visited Pietra in 1306.
Beyond dates and geographical quotes, which show how Pietra was well known even in the Middle Age, mount of Purgatorio is actually similar to Pietra in the way Dante describes it: a very high mountain, whose sides are steep cliffs and which sticks out as an island, with a flat area at the top (the garden of Eden).

In the version of the Divine Comedy by G. Dorè, illustrated at the end of XIX century, probably the the most famous and popular ever, many illustrations remind oddly to Pietra di Bismantova.

We cannot know whether Pietra looks like mount of Purgatorio or mount of Purgatorio looks like Pietra, but we surely can notice another extraordinary feature of this place: it is so special that it looks like an idea.

(edited by Arch. Chiara Dazzi)