Pietra Di Bismantova – Castelnovo ne' Monti, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Pietra Di Bismantova

Castelnovo ne' Monti, Italy

An Italian geologic wonder that served as the inspiration for the landscape of Dante's hell. 


Rising suddenly from the surrounding landscape in the Reggiano Apennines two hours north of Lucca, Italy, the Pietra di Bismantova has been inspiring writers and fantasists for centuries, even inspiring Dante’s Mount of Purgatory. 

The stunning calcarenite plateau rises 300 meters above the surrounding hills, naturally drawing the attention of visitors to the area. Not unlike the similarly formed Devil’s Tower in America, the Bismantova has been associated with an almost supernatural spirit. Mention of the stone tower dates all the way back to the fifth century CE when the Byzantines built a military post at the site, and more famously the tall rock was name-checked in Dante’s classic Divine Comedy. The site continues to be a a source of inspiration for poets and musicians who have identified the wide spire in their work, but the bulk of the visitors to the site are rock climbers looking to crest that inspirational plateau. 

Know Before You Go

Drive to Il Rifugio Della Pietra

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December 12, 2013

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