Cipresso di Francesca - Francesca's cypress

Thanks to Dante, the tragic story of Francesca Da Polenta is now known to everyone, which the great poet described in the V Canto of Inferno, also known as the Canto of "Paolo and Francesca".

“Agile e solo vien di colle in colle / quasi accennando l’ardüo cipresso. / Forse Francesca temprò qui li ardenti occhi al sorriso?”

Giosuè Carducci in his Ode alla chiesa di Polenta writes these verses in honor of Francesca, considered by the writer as a mythical figure, a new virtuous and courageous heroine, muse and symbol of the triumph of beauty and, at the same time, of the victory of freedom against injustices and oppressions.

A mythical cypress still stands today on one of the hills near Polenta (the Conzano hill), where tradition has it that Francesca often climbed it in romantic contemplation.

The original tree, destroyed by lightning on 21 July 1898, was replaced by a new cypress which Carducci replanted in October of the same year. In the large pit prepared for the planting, a small ark was also built in which a metal tube was placed containing a parchment bearing the following words: "26 October 1898. The ancient cypress of the Ode a Polenta replanted".

In 1944 the cypress was blown up by German troops out of contempt, during the retreat from the Gothic Line. For this reason Aldo Spallicci, intellectual and anti-fascist, wanted to replant the cypress as a sign of the rebirth of republican Italy after twenty years of fascist dictatorship.

The current cypress was planted by Prof. Roversi Monaco in 1994, while he was Rector of the University of Bologna, on the occasion of the start of university activities in Romagna.