Love, that on gentle heart doth swiftly seize,
Seized this man for the person beautiful
That was ta’en from me, and still the mode offends me.
Love, that exempts no one beloved from loving,
Seized me with pleasure of this man so strongly,
That, as thou seest, it doth not yet desert me;
Love has conducted us unto one death;
Caina waiteth him who quenched our life!
– Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, Inferno V, 100-107
Paolo and Francesca actually existed: Francesca da Polenta was the daughter of the Lord of Ravenna and Cervia, and she was married to Giovanni Malatesta, also called “Giovanni the Lame”, in 1275. To avoid her possible refusal, the powerful lords of Rimini and Ravenna plotted a deception. They sent to Ravenna Giovanni’s brother, Paolo the Handsome.
Francesca accepted with joy the wedding without knowing that Paolo married her in name of his brother, less charming then him and lame. In time, Francesca resign herself to her fate and she had a daughter, Concordia, to cheer her up. Paolo, who had possessions near Gradara, often visited his sister-in-law, maybe regretting his part in the deception.
One day of September in 1289, Paolo went to Gradara for one of his visits: Giovanni mistrusted his brother, so he planned another deception. He always leaved early to visit Pesaro, where he was Chief Magistrate, to return late in the evening. That day he pretended to leave and, while the lovers read delighted the story of Lancelot and Geneva, he surprised them sharing a chaste kiss. Blinded by jealousy, he drew his sword: Paolo tried to escape from the trap door but it is told that his dress got caught. While her husband was swinging the sword, Francesca tried to save Paolo but instead they were both killed.
So the unfortunate lovers were immortalised by the poet Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy. Over the centuries, many other important artists were inspired by the tragedy of Paolo and Francesca and even today their mysterious love story has fascinated thousands of people.
Paolo and Francesca: Intrigues in Gradara is not only a engaging game that stimulates the imagination, but it is also a new and engaging educational and cultural experience, full of historical references and a careful research conducted by the authors. During a game, players are having fun by meeting characters and visiting places of the Renaissance: game and setting give exciting experiences linked to the history and culture of a unique city like Gradara.
Paolo and Francesca: Intrigues in Gradara represents not only a pleasant memory for people visiting Gradara, a must-have souvenir to take home, but it’s also a fun experience to share with friends (even if they never visited Gradara) to let them discover a charming city, becoming a potential driving force for new tourists. A new and “viral” way to transfer and spread throughout the world the name of Gradara.
The 80 cards represent the medieval town with 9 main places (including the Castle); Paolo, Francesca and other notable figures of that time; the most famous Renaissance families that have influenced the history of Gradara.