This scenario is perhaps in reference to the Biblical story of Jezebel, and signifies that the protagonist has reentered the profane realm through "vain temptation" (VN 39:6) and by forgetting Beatrice.
Dante concludes the theme of sacred time and sacred space with the mention of pilgrims passing through the city on their way "to see that blessed image that Jesus Christ left to us as a likeness of his most beautiful countenance" (VN 40:1)...
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The city is sacred because Beatrice (a totality of sacredness) was born, lived and died there. Likewise, because the pilgrims are on a sacred journey, everywhere they pass is also considered sacred. The sacred time/event makes the space sacred also.
Alighieri, Dante. Vita nuova. Italian Text with Facing English Translation...