Dante’s world in the Biancane
There is so much of Dante’s Hell and Purgatory in the Biancane Natural Park in Monterotondo Marittimo.
This fen, which a prodigious stench exhales (Inferno IX), you might encounter
the vapors humid and condensed (Purgatory XVII) that the poet crossed in his otherworldly journey amongst the damned and the penitents.
Thus was descending the eternal heat, / Whereby the sand was set on fire, like tinder / Beneath the steel, for doubling of the dole (Inferno XIV) – a fiery part of Tuscany with
Whate’er the mist that crowds the air conceals (Inferno XXXI).
Of course we are only having fun with literary quotations. The Biancane – named after the light color of its calcareous hills, molded by intense geothermal activity – are located on the border between the provinces of Grosseto and Pisa, and made spectacular by geysers, fumaroles and sulfurous exhalation.
The landscape seems somewhat ghostly and unreal, with water vapor breathed by the cracks in the earth with methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, strong sulfur smell, bubbling mud, and silence dotted by light hisses and grunts of water in turmoil.
Don’t be scared. You have nothing to fear, and in fact, are in for a great thrill.