Tomb of the Antipope Giovanni XXIII, Florence, Italy

The Antipope Giovanni XXIII and his Tomb in the Baptistry of Florence

Robert Langdon, the main character in Dan Brown’s Inferno, in describing the Baptistry of Florence was attracted to the suspended tomb of Antipope Giovanni XXIII (John XXIII). To Langdon, it seems that the antipope’s body lies in repose high up on the wall like a cave dweller or a subject in a magician’s levitation trick.

The real name of this tomb made of marble and bronze is Baldassare Coscia. It was created, according to the art historians, by the Italian sculptors Donatello and Michelozzo for the Florence Baptistry.

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

Niccolò Machiavelli

The ends justify the means,” is this the expression used by Sienna Brooks in the novel Inferno, from the notorious Florentine political theorist Machiavelli.

Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469, Florence – June 21, 1527, Florence) was an Italian Renaissance political philosopher and statesman, as well as secretary of the Florentine Republic. His most famous work, Il Principe (The Prince), brought him great renown.

Portrait of Bianca Cappello, Florence

The Duchess Bianca Cappello

Bianca Cappello (1548, Venice – October 20, 1587, Poggio, near Florence) was an Italian noblewoman and the daughter of Bartolomeo Cappello and Pellegrina Morosini. Both of her parents belonged to the oldest and most famous families in the Venetian aristocracy.

She was renowned for her beauty and intelligence, and her court intrigues were the most scandalous of her time. Her life is known through a mix of history and legend.

Sandro Botticelli self portrait

Sandro Botticelli

Alessandro Filipepi was born in Florence in the quarter of Santa Maria Novella near the Arno river.

Alessandro’s father, Mariano Filipepi, was a tanner and was aided in his trade by his proximity to the Arno. In an income tax return dating to 1458, Mariano stated that he had 4 sons: Giovanni, Antonio, Simone and Alessandro (nicknamed Sandro).