I love to read novels that take me to interesting places, especially to those I have visited. Last month I read Dan Brown’s Inferno, which takes place in Florence, Venice and Istanbul. Having just visited Florence and Venice in April, I felt like I was there, following Professor Langdon in wild adventures in those magical cities.
Dante’s Inferno is central to the plot and Brown takes us through many passages of the poem as Langdon struggles to decipher the coded messages left by the story’s villain. The story begins in Florence, where the villain jumps to his death from the “spire of the Badia,” formally known as Badia Fiorentina. From that point on, the story takes us to major landmarks in Florence, including the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Garden, the Ponte Vecchio, the Baptistry, the Duomo, and the Vasari Corridor. The latter was built to enable members of the Medici family to go from the Palazzo Pitti to the Palazzo Vecchio without being seen. With Inferno’s success, the Vasari Corridor became a tourist attraction, although access is still limited, through scheduled tours.
While in Florence I visited and photographed these landmarks.
From Florence our hero travels to Venice, arriving, as everybody else, by boat on the Grand Canal. From there he and his adventure companions meander through city landmarks such as the Palazzo Ducale, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Piazza San Marco, and Brown mentions many other attractions, such as the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of the Sighs, the Riva Degli Schiavoni, and the San Giorgio Maggiori Island, among others.
Venice is the most beautiful and enjoyable city I have ever visited. I can’t possibly do justice to its magnificence, but here are some shots of the places mentioned in the book.
From Venice, the plot takes us to Istanbul, Turkey. There, Professor Langdon’s adventure ends at the Hagia Sophia, a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, that later became an imperial mosque, and is now a museum. I haven’t yet visited Istanbul so that part of the novel didn’t have the same special meaning, but the city is on my list of must-see cities and I certainly will relive the thrilling end of Inferno when I visit it.
Perhaps this post has raised your interest in Inferno. It isn’t a literary masterpiece but it’s an exciting read and I recommend it. Most importantly, I hope it has raised your interest in visiting these magnificent cities.