The plain of Campaldino still exists, green in the spring and summer and just a bit more muted in colour during the autumn and winter, with the crown of surrounding hills and mountains just as they were in Dante’s day (the Pratomagno on one side, the Apennines on the other and the Verna acting as a strict guard in the background). A commemorative column put up in 1921 is the only evidence today of the battle, surrounded by just a few buildings dotting the harmonious plain, none of which show any traces of past violent clashes… Even if at times, as if caling to mindl the historical event, sounds of the clatter of weapons and armour are said to be heard, as well as the heavy breathing of men and horses. The story of the Bonconte’s extreme conversion continues with him praying to Mary in his final moments, despite being pierced through the neck, thus escaping the devil, who was ready to drag his soul to Inferno. The evil entity, angry over being fooled, caused a furious storm on the battle field that night, which pushed Bonconte’s body into the Archiano creek, merging with the River Arno (the royal river), and this is why he was never found (Purgatory, V, 115-123).
“[...] And then, when day was done, he filled the valley
from Pratomagno far as the great ridge
with mist; the sky above was saturated.
The dense air was converted into water;
rain fell, and then the gullies had to carry
whatever water earth could not receive;
and when that rain was gathered into torrents,
it rushed so swiftly toward the royal river
that nothing could contain its turbulence. [...]”