Dante met Beatrice when he was nine and she only eight when his father took him to a party at her father's house. He immediately fell in love with her and remained in love throughout his life. She was dressed in a crimson dress and Dante said "From that time forward love fully ruled my soul." She became the inspiration for his greatest works-Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova.
He remained hopelessly infatuated with her for the next nine years until they met again, even though they never spoke a word or met in the interim.
Nine years later they met in a street in Florence as she walked along, dressed in a white dress, with two other women. She spoke to him and her greeting filled him with such joy he rushed home to think about her, fell asleep and dreamt the start of his first sonnet, La Vita Nuova. He described her as gentilissima and benedetta "most kind and blessed." He wrote other poems dedicated to her as well.
Beatrice married as planned and so did Dante. After that encounter, they never met again. Yet she remained ever in his thoughts. She died young, at the age of 24, but Dante still remained dedicated to her memory.
In Divine Comedy, Beatrice becomes his saviour, the one to lead him on the path through the nine levels of heaven to finally reach the paradise where God resides.
It was the ultimate in romance, unsullied because it was based on unrequited love with no day to day living to dull the shine. But it resulted in the creation of beautiful written works from the pen of Dante, so perhaps Beatrice could be considered a muse rather than a love. In any case, we are grateful to her for her inspiration to a romantic.