Other churches there are in Empoli, S. Stefano, for instance, with a Madonna and two angels, given to Masolino, and the marvellously lovely Annunciation by Bernardo Rossellino; and S. Maria di Fuori, with its beautiful loggia, but they will not hold you long.
But mothers must not be impatient, Kitty must have all the advantages that befitted her rank; and to what better hands could the most anxious mother intrust her than to those charming, aristocratic, accomplished nuns of the Soeurs Blanches? Then one January day M. d'Estrées drove out to San Paolo fuori le Mura, and caught a blast from the snowy Sabines coming back.
In the sixteenth century when the Canons Regular of the Lateran, who then served it, were compelled to abandon it, they built within the city of Ravenna another church which they named after that they had left, S. Maria in Porto. Thereafter the old church without the walls was known as S. Maria in Porto fuori.
In the seventh heaven, which is the planet Saturn, led by Beatrice, he finds S. Romualdo, and speaks of S. Peter Damiano, and blessed Peter Il Peccatore, the founder of the church of S. Maria in Porto fuori, two of them of the Onesti house of Ravenna. "In that place was I Peter Damiano And Peter the sinner dwelt in the house Of our blest Lady on the Adriatic shore."
Nodding to her urgent petition, he deferred the lighting of his cigar. The vetturino requested him to jump up quickly, and a howl of "No smoking in Milan fuori! down with tobacco-smokers!" beset the carriage. He tossed half-a-dozen cigars on the pavement derisively.
And then there was Giotto who came to paint if not in S. Maria in Porto fuori, certainly in S. Giovanni Evangelista. He was Dante's dear friend and it was probably at the poet's suggestion he had been invited to Ravenna. We do not know whether these two men attended Dante's lectures.
Blessed Pietro Il Peccatore stayed in Ravenna and built there outside the walls in the marsh between Ravenna and Classe the great home of Our Lady, S. Maria in Porto fuori. About the middle of the eleventh century, Dr Ricci tells us, certain religious retired into the solitude by the shore of the Adriatic and there built a little church or oratory that was called S. Maria in fossula.
Dante seems to have expressed these conditions perfectly in that passage of the Purgatorio where, after a triple vision which has made him forget his surroundings, he says "Quando l'anima mia tornò di fuori Alle cose che son fuor di lei vere, Io riconobbi i miei non falsi errori."
The mighty tower which rises beside S. Maria in Porto fuori has been thought to be in part the famous Pharos of which Pliny speaks. It is almost certainly founded upon it, but the lower part in its huge strength is, as we see it, a work of the end of the twelfth century, as is the lofty campanile which rises from it.
Su, Rubiera, whom I knew a soldier years ago, who bade me sing, and laid your drawn sword across the keys of my piano-forte for a motive, Rubiera, who came across a chasm to me as I stood clinging to the broken wall, and smiled courage into my sinking heart. Su, Rubiera, who divided the olive-twig with me, promising to challenge me when we met again with Fuori il verde!