"Loda di Dio vera," Dante called Beatrice in the Divine Comedy: "True glory of God." Dante Alighieri wrote about Beatrice Portinari as his divine inspiration; if you have ever felt inspired to write to Beatrice, the Chiesa di Dante is for you.
One day, on my way to a lunch of tagliatelle alla puttanesca and half a bottle of Chianti, I happened upon the supposed church of Dante. For someone who would later graduate with a Master's in Italian Literature and go on to teach the language, passing this up would've been the equivalent of a true meat lover going vegetarian for a year.
The church has served as the place of worship for many prominent Italian families, including Beatrice's. Legend has it that Dante met Beatrice here, although he then went on to marry Gemma Donati here, as well. A plaque in the church identifies a tomb as the one in which Beatrice was buried on June 8, 1291.
Part of the charm of the place has to do with the frescoes and modern paintings commemorating Dante and Beatrice. But I find the church's greatest appeal to be the chance to leave a note for Beatrice.
To get a greater appreciation for Dante, stop by the Casa di Dante, a nearby museum that includes a gift shop.
Hours: 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. - 7.p.m.
Location: From Piazza della Repubblica, follow the signs for "Dante's house" and "Dante's church" on via del Corso.