Dante's Inferno in the Caves of Pertosa

Thu, 12/11/2008 - 10:10
Words by Michelle Fabio

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to tour Dante Alighieri's circles of hell? Well if you have a free weekend and you're in Italy, you can find out!

Every Friday and Saturday in the grotte (caves) of Pertosa in the province of Salerno, "Dante" guides a tour through his Inferno, introducing guests to Paolo and Francesca of Rimini, Ulysses, Minos, Count Ugolino, and other characters you'll find in the first book of The Divine Comedy.

The entertainment underground is made of more than 30 actors and dancers with the Tappeto Volante company and directed by Domenico Maria Corrado, who also came up with the idea. During the tour, the cavernous walls are filled with lights (mainly red, of course), sounds, and exhibits including a shocking scene of feet sticking up from the ground, recalling Dante's confrontation of Popes buried upside down in one of the circles of hell.

The caves offer the perfect, natural atmosphere for this theatrical production; the Inferno's River Achenon was already in place as the real River Negro, which leads to a lake and waterfall. You'll be in hell (in a good way!) for about a kilometre as one of the most revered literary works of all time comes to life in the depths of the earth.

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Each ticket costs €25 with reduced rates for children up to 10 years old and student groups. Reservations are required, and you can make them by calling 081.863.81. For more information, visit TappetoVolante.org (in Italian), where you'll also find a promotional video and great photo gallery as well.

Topic:Culture Dante