Coat of arms of an Italian family with Ghibelline-style heraldic chief at top

Guelphs and Ghibellines

In his 2013 novel Inferno, Dan Brown mentions the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. As it was so important for both Medieval Florence and the life of poet Dante Alighieri, we want to briefly explain what this opposition was about. Simply put, the Guelphs and Ghibellines were rival parties in medieval Germany and…

Via di Belvedere by Nicola CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Florence Town Walls

The city of Florence used to be surrounded by high defensive walls. In Dan Brown’s Inferno, the adventures of the main character Robert Langon take place in this city.
The city walls surrounding Florence have been widened and rebuilt over the centuries six different times (although the actual count is controversial) to defend the city, which has undergone various expansions and contractions. Fortunately, solid and impressive remnants of the ancient city walls still survive: the doors (porte) and a few towers.

Santa Maria Novella Church, Florence, Italy

The Renaissance

The Renaissance is a term that refers to the historical, cultural, and artistic movement that developed first in Italy and then quickly spread throughout the rest of Europe, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. The various disciplines differed considerably from area to area. This movement was characterized by the emergence of a new way of looking at life and the revival of studies and the arts.

There is a consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, in the 14th century. Robert Langdon, the main character in Dan Brown’s Inferno agrees.