Angels and Demons places
On this page you can learn more about the places, which are mentioned in the book. Beneath the description of the places there are links to websites with further information, ticket bookings etc.
Angels and Demons does not actually take place in Boston, but in the beginning of the book, Robert Langdon receives a call in his home in the middle of the night. Langdon works as a teacher at Harvard University in Cambridge, which is a part of Boston.
Link to Harvard University. Here you can get information about the university.
Boston is of great importance for the American life and history, and a city you can easily fall in love with. You can enjoy yourself in Boston at all times of the year. It is hot during summer and cold in the winter time, but the city is very alive, no matter the time of the year.
Robert Langdon receives a call by Maximilian Kohler. He drives to Logan Airport, where he meets the pilot, who flies him to Geneva in a prototype of a Boeing X-33. It takes one hour to fly the 17.000 kmīs from Boston to Geneva. According to the book, the plane is owned by CERN, but they have never owned one. NASA, however, has had an X-33 developed by Lockheed Martin. Their design won over Boeing back in 1996.
Langdon is flown to Geneva, where the head quarter of CERN is situated.
Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland after Zürich, and the main city in the French speaking part of the country. The city is situated, where the Geneva lake runs into the river Rhône. Geneva is an international city with headquarters of many, international organisations. Among these, CERN.
CERN does really exist, and has, as it is mentioned in the book, invented the internet. And there are also made experiments to crush particles in the 27 km long tunnel. This is where Langdon meet Maximilian Kohler, who shows him the body of Leonardo Vetra. Kohler has also sent for the daughter of Leonardo, Vittoria, who arrives a bit later.
The study of Leonardo Vetras:
While Langdon and Vittoria are in Rome, Kohler searches the study of Leonardo Vetra and later on also his bedroom, where he uses force to open the upper drawer of the bedside table. He finds what he is looking for: the note book of Vetra. When he is done reading it, he watches the news from the Vatican.
Link to CERNs website. It is possible to visit CERN, but their waiting list can be several months long. Click here to book a visit at CERN.
The Vatican is the smallest state in the world with an area of 44,2 ha. The population is around 900. You donīt need a passport to go from Italy into the Vatican. The Head of the State is the Pope, who is elected at the secret conclave by the College of Cardinals. The present constitution of the state goes back to 1969. It is remarkable as the Pope both holds the executive and legislative powers.
At the Lateran treaty in 1969, the Vatican received a number of privileges from the Italian state. For instance some pieces of land on Italian ground. The income of the Vatican comes from stamps of coins and stamps. But the largest income is received from the entrance fees at the Vatican museums.
Link to the Vatican website, where you can find lots of information and photos.
In the airport, Langdon and Vittoria are met by a pilot, who takes them on board one of the two holy helicopters, decorated with the Vatican sickle. They are taken to the Vatican.
From the helicopter on their way to the Vatican, Langdon and Vittoria sees Saint Peterīs Basilica. The church is wider than two soccer fields and longer than six. It has room for 60.000 churchgoers or 100 times the population of the Vatican.
Saint Peter was crucified here upside down. He now rests in a tomb, placed 5 floors underground, right under the dome of the church.
The helicopter lands on the heliport, which is placed in the north west end of the Vatican, as far away from Saint Peterīs Basilica as possible. They are driven in an electric car along the western border, the 15 meter tall wall of the fortress, which can protect even attacks from tanks. Along the wall there are Swiss guards for every 50 m. They turn to the right into Via della Osservatorio, passes Radio Vaticana, around in the roundabout and gets to the back side of the church. To the right they can see the luxurious palace of the Pope. The Governatorato building with the administration of the Vatican is now behind them. In front of them are the Vatican museums, which hold 60.000 invaluable pieces of art, spread over 1407 halls. Among the artists are Michelangelo, da Vinci, Bernini and Botticelli. Winding stairs, made by Michelangelo, leads to the museums.
Link to website, where tickes to the Vatican museums can be booked and the queues be passed.
The car is parked on the lawn behind Saint Peters Basilica. They follow the guard up the paves to a marble square behind the church. They walk across the square to the back wall of the church, which they follow. They cross a triangle square and continue, crossing Via Belvedere and into some buildings which are placed close to each other. They cross another square and reaches the office of the Swiss guard, close to Il Corpe di Vigilanza, north east of Saint Peterīs Basilica. The office is placed in a building, made of stone, and is guarded by two Swiss guards.
Office of the Swiss guard:
After the arrival of Langdon and Vittoria, the colonel in charge of the Swiss guard, Olivetti, shows them the monitors. The guards are busy finding the four missing cardinals - more busy than looking for the cylinder with the antimatter. On the monitor they see, that the battery will run out of power in only six hours, after which the antimatter will be connected to real matter and explode. This will happen at exactly midnight.
The Sistine Chapel:
The Sistine Chapel is a rectangular room, constructed by Sixtus IV of Giovannino de Dolci and parted by a altar rail of marble, created by Mino da Fiesole. This is where the conclave elects the new pope, and the oven, where the voting papers are burned after the votings, are placed. Michelangelo got the job decorating the ceiling of the chapel. He made a giant 800 m2 fresco-painting, showing the creation. 23 years later he got the job painting the altar wall, where he painted The last Judgment. This is where Jesus separates the righteous from the sinners. One of the rivals of Michelangelo sits in Hell with ears from a donkey.
Link to larger pictures and more details of The last Judgment.
In the book the windows in the Sistine Chapel are covered with black velvet because of the conclave, and the church is lit by candles only.
Cardinal Mortati carries out the first votings and burn the voting papers, as there is no agreement after the first votings.
After the killing of 3 cardinals and the discovery of the murder of the pope, the camerlengo steps into the chapel together with the two reporters from BBC, Glick and Macri. He gives a speach and then he kneels in front of the altar, and ask everybody to pray with him.
The Apostolic Palace:
The Apostolic Palace consists of several different buildings close to the Sistine Chapel in the north western corner of the Vatican. The palace includes the residence of the Pope and the Popeīs office.
If you would like to see the residence of the Pope, you can look to the building on the right side of Saint Peterīs Basilica. Every Sunday the Pope gives his Sunday speach to the whole world at 12 noon. The private apartment of the Pope is behind the last windows to the right in the top floor.
In the book the name of the camerlengo is Carlo Ventresca. After the death of the Pope, the camerlengo has placed his fingers on the artery of the dead Pope to confirm the expiration. He has listened for breathing sounds and called the name of the Pope three times. The law says that there must be no obduction. Afterwards he has destroyed the ring of the Pope and the stamp for making lead seals. Then he has planned the funeral.
While colonel Olivetti, Langdon and Vittoria visit the camerlengo to inform him about the threats towards the Vatican, they receive a phone call. It is the murderer, who speaks with a Middle East accent and tells them, that Illuminati has been waiting 400 years for this day. He tells them, that Illuminati has infiltrated the Vatican and that they have kidnapped the 4 cardinals, who were the favourites of being elected as the new pope: Lamassé, Guidera, Ebner and Baggia. The last mentioned is the most likely to be elected pope. The murderer tells, that he is a descendant after the hassasins. He asks if anybody remembers La purga: the fire burning with the sign of the cross. The 4 kidnapped cardinals will die, one by one, for every hour, starting at 8 p.m. They will each be killed in a church. With more than 400 catholic churches in Rome, it seems like an impossible job to find them.
Colonel Olivetti asks the camerlengo the say the prayer of Saint Francis: "God, grant me strength to accept those things I cannot change". This is not literally included in the prayer:
Lord, make us instruments
of your peace.
Where there is hatred
let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not
so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood
as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving
that we receive;
It is in pardoning
that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are
born to eternal life.
Langdon asks the camerlengo for access to the archives with the most holy documents of christianity. The archives are situated behind the Port of St. Anna in the opposite end of the Borgia square, and includes more than 20.000 books. It is said that the disappeared diaries of Leonardo da Vinci and unpublished chapters of the Bible can be found in the archives.
Langdon walks up the Via delle Fontamenta towards the archives. On the way there, he tells Vittoria, that he is looking for a book of Galilei, including Il Segno, a sign for the Church of Illumination. They turn into Via Sentinel and proceed on the paved path in front of the archive building. They get access with the help of a Swiss guard.
The camerlengo walks through the Gregor XIII loggia, and gets to the royal stair. He walks down the stairs towards the bronze door, leading into the Sistine Chapel. Four Swiss guards are at the door.
In the end of the book, Vittoria and Langdon runs through Il Passetto. When they get to the end, they see a lattice gate made of iron. The hear voices from Saint Peters Square. Suddenly the tunnel ends. A heavy door without handles block the way. It is a so called Senza Chiave - a one way door, which can only be opened from one side, which is now the other side.
Constable Chartrand stands outside the Popeīs office and hears a kind of knocking. The noise comes from somewhere behind the corner, on the other side of Sala Clementina, the private library of the Pope. It has been locked since the death of the Pope. The entrance to the library is decorated with pillars. The door is locked. Rocher uses his gun to open it. He walks into a oblong room with Oriental carpets and tall oak tree shelves, filled with books. A leather sofa and a fireplace of marble is also in the room together with a coffee table, covered with scientific and political magazines. A giant iron door behind the sofa looks like a safety deposit box. It has 4 giant locks with the keys in it. Small letters say: Il Passetto.
15 years ago Langdon has discovered a number of Illuminati letters regarding Il Segno. They have included references to a number, 503. It also appears that Il Segno was revealed in a way, called La Lingua Pura, the language of the pure. In the beginning of the 1630īs, Galilei published a book, Diālogo, where he joins the kopernikan, heliocentric model of the solar system. The Vatican would not allow the publishing of the book, if Galilei did not include a just as convincing proof of the churchīs geocentric model, even though Galilei knew, that it was absolutely wrong. However, Diālogo was considered heretical by the Vatican, and they put him into house arrest. While he was in house arrest, he secretly wrote another less known book, Discorsi, which scientists often confuse with Diālogo. Historicans were convinced that Galilei also had written an obscure script, Diagramma della Verita. This would be the secret text, smuggled out of Rome and published in the Netherlands. The Vatican got to know about this, and started a book burning campaign, and the text disappeared from the face of the Earth. It is believed that only 1 copy did survive the 18th century. It was confiscated in the Netherlands, shortly after the death of Galilei.
In archive box number 10 they find stuff about and by Galilei, and after having searched for quite a while, they find Diagramma della Verita in a folio box. They begin to look for something mathematic, as Langdon believes that this is what is meant by the language of the pure. In the book there are descriptions of the movements of the planets. Langdon remembers that Galileiīs juridic problems had started, when he described the movements of the planets as elliptic. The Vatican praised the perfection of the circle and insisted upon the movements of the planets being solely circular. Galilei and Illuminati also found the ellipse as being perfect as they praised the duality of mathematics in its double centre. The ellipse had even today a prominent placement in the work tableaus and foundings of the modern masons.
After having read it the first time, they find nothing, but after a while, Vittoria discovers a footnote on page 5: The path of light is laid, the sacred test. Langdon wonders about the number 5, which leads his thoughts to Pythagoras, pentagrams and Illuminati, but he does not see a connection. They both wonder about the footnote being in English, until they get the thought, that noone in the Vatican spoke English in the 1600īs, and that this is the reason for the reference to English being the language of the pure.
The verse consists of iambic pentameters: 5 pairs of changing stressed and unstressed syllables, built upon the holy Illuminati-numbers, 5 and 2. But the iambic pentameter was also often called the pure verse or the pure foot of verse, and it could also be the verse, that the language of the pure refers to.
Vittoria turns the document around, and finds out that there is a new line on each margin. At the top, at the bottom, to the right and to the left. It is a poem, signed by John Milton, an English poet, who lived at the same time as Galilei, and is believed to have been a member of Illuminati. He had done a well documented pilgrimīs trip to Rome in 1638 to be with educated men in confidence. He had had meetings with Galilei during his house arrest. These meetings were portrayed in several paintings, like Galilei and Milton, which can be found in the IMS-museum in Florence.
Langdon reads the 4 lines of the verse in the direction of the sun: at the top, to the right, at the bottom and to the left. After having read them for the first time, he knows where the first cardinal will be killed. Due to lack of time, they bring the paper with them, run across Via Borgia towards the office of Olivetti. The Altor of Science has revealed itself with obviousness:
From Santis earthly tomb with demonīs hole,
īCross Rome the mystic elements unfold,
The path of light is laid, the sacred test,
Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.
The verse leads them to Pantheon.
When Langdon later returns to the archives together with a guard, they find a list of the Vaticanīs assets. On the time of Bernini, everything created by an artist under the patronage of the Pope, became property of the Vatican by law, including the pieces of art places outside the Vatican. All catholic churches in Rome belonged to the Vatican.
Langdon finds the record of Bernini. He looks for a long time and is close to bringing the record with him outside, because of the thin air in the cabin. But a note in the index catches his attention. The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa had been moved from its original place shortly after having been published. The statue had had a confused past, as the Pope Urban VII had rejected it, because it had a too obviously sexual touch. The note tells that it has been moved by request of the artist and placed in one of the five churches on Langdons list of the most likely on the line towards the east. The statue has been called the most inappropriate decoration seen in a christian church ever. The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa is lying on her back while an overwhelming orgasm flows through her. By the description of the piece of art, there is also a draft showing that the statue includes an angel. The legend of Saint Theresa tells, that she was a nun, who was made a saint after having claimed that an angel had paid her a blissful visit, while she was asleep. Later some critics claimed that the meeting had been more sexual than spiritual. At the bottom of the page, Langdon sees an extract which looks familiar. It is the own words of Theresa, including the words "sword" and "fire" several times. Langdon looks at the draft and sees that the flaming sword of the angel is lifted like a stick pointing in a direction. The statue is placed in the church Santa Maria della Vittoria.
Posting location of the Swiss guard:
The posting location of the Swiss guard is placed across the Corpo di Vigilanza barracks, and is used for organising security for the Pope and public happenings in the Vatican. In the book it is also used for organising the search for the antimatter. This is where we learn about constable Chartrand.
Saint Peterīs Square:
Gunther Glick and Chinita Macri, journalist and camera recorder, are sitting in the BBC van, parked in the eastern end of Saint Peterī s Square. They are not satisfied with their jobs, as they know that there is no great public interest for the conclave and that they probably only will get 15 seconds time of transmission later in the evening.
The colonnade on Saint Peterīs Square is made by Bernini. The semicircle symbolises the churchīs embrace of the believers and pilgrims. The colonnade is 198 m long and 148 m wide. 284 columns are placed around Saint Peterīs Square, which has the form of an ellipse and is constructed by Bernini.
Glick is contacted by the murderer, who tells him, that he is a messenger from Illuminati and is ready to kill four cardinals. Glick looks up Illuminati on his computer and goes through the BBC database of previous features. He finds out, that Winston Churchill once condemned Illuminati and warned the English people of a world wide conspiracy against moral. Cecil Rhodes, the English financier, was also a member of Illuminati. He established the Rhodes foundation, which has been given to Bill Clinton among others. In the database the computer game, Illuminati: The new World order, by Steve Jackson, is also mentioned.
After having been to Piazza del Popolo, Glick and Macri returns to Saint Peterīs Square. Macri follows Langdon and Vittoria, who again are playing newly married. They walk hand in hand towards the 350 ton heavy Egyptian obelisk of Caligula.
The obelisk reaches 27 meters in the air and ends up in a top with the shape of a pyramide, on which there is an iron cross. The cross is said to contain the remains of the cross, on which Jesus was crucified. On each side of the obelisk are two fountains, placed symmetrically. The two fountains mark the two precise geometric foci on Berniniīs ellipse shaped square. They find the West Wind medallion, made of marble and with the shape of an ellipse. The West Wind is presented with the face of an angel breathing heavily away from the Vatican.
The piece of art is Berninis homage to the second element: air. The breath is 5 lines. The medallion is flanked by two shining stars. Langdon thinks of Galilei: two stars, 5 breaths, ellipses and symmetry...
Fact: There are actually 16 of these marble medaillions around the obelisk on St. Peterīs Square. It is pure fiction that this specific medaillion should lead them towards west.
Vittoria has a feeling that they are being followed and takes Langdon away from the monument. It is Macri, who follows them with her camera. After a short while they return, and they see a homeless alcoholic at the foot of the obelisk. A small girl screams. The man breaks in two by the stomach, dangles forward and tumble down the stairs and hit the pavement with his head down. The blood runs from the man. But he is not dead. Langdon turns him around and in the middle of his chest, he is fire burned with the word "Air". He has been stabbed twice right under his ribs. His lungs are punctured, and he dies shortly after. It is cardinal Lamassé. A tourist explains, that a few moments ago a dark skinned man had helped the man across the square and had sat beside him for a while, before disappearing into the crowds of people.
Macri has recorded it all. She is followed by the Swiss guards, but she takes the tape out of the camera and switches it with an empty one. She puts the tape with the recordings in her belt, under her jacket. When she is stopped and asked to give them the tape, she refuses. At the same time, the tape in her belt is being torn from her by Gunther Glick, who takes the tape with him.
In the end of the book, when the camerlengo is about to be transported to the hospital, he suddenly gets up, and his fire burn mark can be seen very clearly. The symbol suddenly makes sense to Langdon. It is the Illuminati diamond, which consists of the four elements. The camerlengo suddenly says: Thank you, God. On this rock I will build my church - from Matthew 16:18, and runs back into Saint Peters Basilica.
The Popeīs Office:
After having given his first speach in the Sistine Chapel, the camerlengo walk into the Popeīs office together with corporal Rocher. He asks Rocher to find the cylinder with the antimatter and the cardinals to be evacuated at 11.15 p.m., if they will still be in danger at that time. He does not wish to be evacuated himself, but says a prayer by the light from the fireplace in front of a small statue of Virgin Mary.
After the second murder, Langdon washes off the blood of cardinal Lamassé in the private bathroom, next to the Popeīs Office. It has black marble, furniture of gold, cotton towels and handsoap, which smells nice.
A soldier has got hold of a map and has found the direction of the centre line in the breath of the medallion on Saint Peterīs Square. They look for a church with a piece of art by Bernini, which has something to do with fire. And possibly a place with an obelisk. Langdon believes that Bernini without any doubt has been involved with a lot of the many removals of obelisks, that took place during his control. There are about 20 churches in the particular direction, some closer than others. But no obelisks. Langdon asks for an index of Berninis works of art. It can be found in the secret archives of the Vatican, and Langdon walks back to the archives together with a guard.
The camerlengo asks the three guards and Vittoria to come along to Saint Peterīs Basilica.
After the arrival of Kohler, and after his conversation with the camerlengo, a scream comes from The Popeīs Office. Everybody hurries inside. The camerlengo has been fire burned. Langdon looks closely at the fire burn mark - the most perfect of them all - symmetric but impossible to understand. The camerlengo gives order to the Swiss guards to evacuate the cardinals, and asks to be flown to a hospital. Vittoria and Langdon carries him on a stretcher to Saint Peterīs Square.
Church of Illumination:
The murderer sits in the Church of Illumination in a comfortable chair and calls Glick.
After having killed the 3rd cardinal and kidnapped Vittoria, he parks his van under the Church of Illumination and carries her up the stairs. He leaves her with her hands tied behind her back on a couch and walks down into the dungeons, where cardinal Baggia has been placed.
Vittoria wakes up on the couch and sees that she is in a room with walls and floors made of stone. It is large, well furnished and lit by torches. Old fashioned benches stand in a circle. A couple of big double doors are open and behind them is a balcony. Through the rail she can see the Vatican.
Later in the book it turns out that the Church of Illumination is Castel SantīAngelo.
Saint Peters Basilica:
Every year the church is visited by 10 million people. Saint Peterīs Basilica is the most important of the 7 christian churches of pilgrimage. The building of the present church was begun in 1506 and ended in 1626. According to legends the apostle Peter was crucified upside down. After the execution, the disciples took the body down from the cross and buried him on the Vatican Hill, next to a new cemetery. Emperor Constantine erected a suitable church over the tomb. It was called Constantineīs Basilica and was consecrated in the year 326. The remains of it can be seen in Sacre Grotte Vaticane. In 1452 the church was ramshackle, and Pope Nicolaus V decided to restore it. Parts of the church was demolished. But in 1503 the pope of that time, Julius II decided to demolish the old church completely and build a new one. The architect became Donato Bramante. His plan was to make a classic dome and a church with the shape of a Greek cross, with arms of equal lenghts. But after the death of Bramante, the work was given to Raphael and Giuliano da Sangallo, who wanted to build the church with a Latin cross, with one long arm. Raphael died in 1520 before he had finished the church, and other architects took over. Antonio da Sangallo the Younger became the architect in 1537 and continued until his death in 1548. Then Michelangelo took over. He went back to the original plan of Bramantes. Michelangelo died in 1564 without having seen the church finished. The job was once again overtaken, this time by Giacomo della Porta, who finished the dome in 1572. Later on Pope Sixtus V gave the job to Carlo Fontana and Giacomo della Porta, and in 1605 only the facade needed to be finished. Pope Paul V gave the job of extending the church into the shape of a Latin cross to Carlo Maderno. This is the reason why it is not possible to see the real glory of the church or the giant dome over the cross from Saint Peterīs Square. The inside of the church is decorated by a number of unknown artists, but Bernini ended the decoration with some of his works. However, the most important art treasure is Michelangeloīs Pieta, which he created when he was only 23 years old.
Vittoria walks together with the camerlengo and the three Swiss guards into Saint Peterīs Basilica. In the middle of the church there is the depressed sanctuarium beneath the main altor. By the rail around the hole, she looks down on the golden coffin, which is surrounded by oil lamps. Vittoria thinks that this is the tomb of Saint Peterīs, but the camerlengo tells her, that it holds the wide, weaved white ribbons, that are given to new appointed cardinals. He informs them, that there is an error in the guide books, which all tell, that it is the tomb of Saint Peterīs. Instead Saint Peter is buried two floors below.
They continue and reaches a new opening in the floor. A stairway disappears down into the deep. On the way down the camerlengo tells Vittoria about the time when he lost his mother, and about the bishop who took care of him.
The holy Vatican catacombs are situated under the floor in Saint Peterīs Basilica. This is where the dead popes are buried. At the end of the winding stair, they step into the crypt. On both sides of the tunnel there are alcoves with sarcophagi. At the top of each tomb there is a full size statue of the Pope, dressed in a chasuble. The popes are represented after the time of death, lying with their arms across the chest. They reach a marble coffin, which looks brighter than the other. The say a prayer quietly, before the camerlengo asks the guards to remove the cover.
The middle ship of the church is searched by constable Chartrand and three other guards. They get close to the Pallium alcove, which is lit by 99 oil lamps burning 24 hours a day. The priests see to, that the lamps are filled with holy oils, so that they will burn forever. A lattice gate covers a hole in the floor. The hole leads to a steep and narrow stair well. A sweet smell from the steam of the lamps spreads from the hole. The smell comes from a mixture of ethanol, sugar, butan and and perfume.
When Kohler later arrives to Saint Peterīs Basilica, he sees the golden decoration of the ceiling in the Belvedere Hall. He drives up a handicap ramp into the Apostolic Palace.
After the camerlengo had his revelation on Saint Peterīs Square, he runs into Saint Peterīs Basilica again. He runs through the middle of the church and disappears suddenly into the dark floor. He has gone down into the Pallium alcove. He runs on the marble floor towards a couple of glass doors, leading into the chamber, which holds the famous shrine. He passes the shrine and starts to remove the lattice gate, stuck to the floor. He is now on his way down to the catacombs, Terra Santa, the most holy place in christianity, and also called Necropolis. According to legends, Necropolis is a dark labyrinth of underground crypts, in which it is easy to get lost.
3 floors under the ground a wrought-iron lattice shows up. It is decorated with 3 craniums. Necropolis means the city of the dead. They follow the underground path up the origian Vatican hill. As the path suddenly ends by a wall of earth, they see a small sign: Mausoleum S. La tomba di San Pietro. There is an opening in the wall in front of them. Inside lies a simple and mouldering sarchophagus.
In the end of the book the camerlengo commits suicide on the holy balcony of Saint Peterīs Basilica, in the middle of the giant facade of the church.
Rome is the capital of Italy and has 3 million people. With suburbs it has 4 millions. Rome is called caput mundi, the Capital of the World. Rome is the city with most art treasures in the world.
The murderer visits a prostitute after a meeting with his boss. Afterwards he has another appointment with his boss, Janus.
Leonardo da Vinci Airport:
After another trip in the X-33 plane from Geneva, Robert and Vittoria land in the Leonardo da Vinci Airport. The flight has lasted 37 minutes. Leonardo da Vinci Airport is the primary airport of Rome and is used by the larger air lines, like SAS og Alitalia.
Link to Leonardo da Vinci Airport website.
From the Vatican to Pantheon:
Santi is the surname of the great renaissance painter Raphael. His tomb is inside Pantheon, the oldest catholic church in Rome. The church has a round opening in the roof, which the demonīs hole in the verse could be referring to.
Langdon and Vittoria drives together with colonel Olivetti down Via dei Coronari towards Pantheon. In the car Langdon tells them, that this is their only chance to catch the murderer, as the Path of Illumination will not be intact, as all statues will not be in their right place. The Vatican has removed all statues from Pantheon at the end of the 1800īs and destroyed them, as they were pagan, olympic gods.
Olivetti orders the cars to Piazza della Rotunda, Via degli Orfanik, Piazzi SantīIgnazio and SantīEustachio, so that the guards can monitor Pantheon. But since the murderer could be inside, Vittoria persuades colonel Olivetti to let her go inside together with Langdon and pretend to be newly married tourists. From the car colonel Olivetti asks them to walk down to Via degli Orfani and turn left, after which they will get directly to Pantheon.
They turn around the corner to Piazza della Rotunda and Pantheon is right before their eyes. Close by people are sitting, enjoying the best ice coffee in Rome at the La Tazza DīOros café.
Link to La Tazza DīOros website.
Above the entrance to Pantheon, there are letters saying: M AGRIPPA L F COS TERTIUM FECIT, which Langdon translates into Marcus Agrippa, consul for the third time, built this.
Pantheonīs Greek name tells, that it once was a temple to all gods. It was consecrated to christianity by Bonifacius IV. Venerable Bede once wrote that the hole in the dome of Pantheon had been drilled by demons, who tried to escape from the building, when it was censecrated into christianity.
Pantheon consists of one single room. A round cell of stone and concrete with only one entrance and no windows. The entrance is narrow and is constantly guarded by four, armed, Roman police officers.
The 43 meter wide arch is even larger than the dome of Saint Peterīs Basilica. The demonīs hole is in the middle of the dome. The dome is precisely half of the total height. The hole in the dome has a 9 meter diameter. The hole is not covered, and the rain is caught in a small well under the floor and led to the Tiber.
The floor is made of shining marble. In the church there are tombs, altors, pillars and alcoves. The kings of Italy have been buried here since 1870. Langdon points at a specially decorated tomb at the other end of the room, when Vittoria asks him, where the tomb of Raphael can be found. But Langdon thinks they need to investigate a number of semicircular alcoves in the walls between the tombs, as these can easily hide someone in the dark. They walk in opposite directions around in the church. Langdon overhears a tourist wonder, why the tombs are placed slanting, in proportion to the architecture. This particular question had recently been discussed in one of Langdonīs symbolic lessons, where a student thought that christianity had nothing to do with worship of the sun, and that tombs did not have to face the east. Langdon explains that saints are equipped with a halo. It has been borrowed from the old, Egyptian religion of sun worshipping. Christianity is filled with examples of worshipping the sun: Christmas is the old pagan Sol invictus-day, which is the same as winter solstice. Christianity has also borrowed the election of a saint from the old ritual of Euhemeros about the making of a god, and the last supper has been borrowed from the Azteks. Even the story about Jesus dying on the cross for the sake of our sins, are found in the ancient traditions of Quetzalcoatl. And God being presented as an old man with a white beard is borrowed from the chief of the Greek gods, Zeus - the god of the sky and thunder.
Vittoria reaches the tomb of Raphael, where the sarcophagus is protected by plexiglass. Through the glass she sees the front of the sarcophagus, which says Raphael Santi, 1483 - 1520. Then she reads the sentence on the memory tableau beside the tomb, after which she runs across the floor towards Robert. Diagramma was published in 1639, but Raphael was not buried in the Pantheon before 1759. The tableau tells that the remains of Raphael had been moved from its original place to Pantheon in 1758.
Langdon og Vittoria asks a guide about Raphael. He tells them, that Raphael originally was buried in Urbino, his birth place. Vittoria asks him, if he knows other famous persons by the name of Santi, but the guide has only heard of the architect Santi. Then Langdon gets the idea, that Raphael might have designed a tomb instead. On the question about a tomb with a demonīs hole, the guide tells them, that a demonīs hole is an old expression for a big subterranean tomb in a chapel, under someone elseīs tomb. This had been a cheap solution when descendants wished to be buried in the same place as their famous member of the family. The guide can only think of one place, which Raphael has designed and has a demonīs hole: The Chigi chapel with Agostino Chigi and his brothers tombs. Both were rich lovers of art and science. The tomb is in the church Santa Maria del Popolo. According to the guide, the tomb is very different. Raphael was only the architect, but another sculpturor made the decorations. The guide thinks that the sculpturor had a lack of taste, as the chapel is decorated with pyramids. Langdon has no longer any doubts. They are in the wrong place, and hurry towards the church Santa Maria del Popolo.
Langdon and Vittoria drives in a taxi the 1,5 km up Via della Scrofa and stops south of Piazza del Popolo.
Piazza del Popolo:
Today, the square with the shape of an ellipse is free of cars and a gathering place for the Romans. The name of the square refers to the poplar trees, which used to grow on the square. In the book some locals sit outside the famous Rosati Café. The square is filled with Illuminati-signs. Besides having the shape of an ellipse, there is a tall stone obelisk in the middle, with a pyramid on top. Langdon points at Porta del Popolo, the tall, arched stone gate at the other side of the square. In the middle of the arch, there is a symbolic engravement: The USA sickle and the mason symbols from the dollar note. It is Bernini, who has changed the original gate into a triumphal arch for Queen Kristina of Sweden, when she came to Rome in 1655 as a new catholic.
Santa Maria del Popolo:
The church of Santa Maria del Popolo is placed slantingly at the bottom of a slope in the south eastern corner of Piazza del Popolo. The church is from the 11th century and is erected on Emperor Neroīs tomb. The stairs leading to the church have the shape of a fan. Vittoria walks towards the entrance, decorated by pillars, up to the giant wooden door. In the book the church is going through restoration, which is why the door is locked.
They walk into the alley to the right of the church. There they see a simple wooden door with heavy hinges. They try to turn the door knob, which is a ring, but the door will not open. They continue further down the alley. At the bottom of the back wall there is a bulwark of stone, covering a narrow opening into a passage, cutting directly through the foundation of the church. The passage gets narrower, curving to the left and opens into a semicircular alcove. A heavy wooden door has been broken up by a crowbar, which is still stuck to the wood.
The inside of Santa Maria del Popolo is a gloomy grotto with giant pillars, which prop up an arched roof.
They stand beneath a colourful fresco-painting by Pinturicchio. All the alcoves are covered by plastic because of the restoration. Vittoria asks where the secondary left apse is. The reason for that is that she has found a plaque on the wall, decorated with a pyramid beneath a shining star:
Coat of arms of Alexander Chigi
whose tomb is located in the
secondary left apse of this cathedral
The Chigi chapel is placed in the 3rd of 4 niches to the right, as you have to face the altor to find oneīs bearings about right and left. They are at the wrong end, but in the correct side of the cathedral. They walk through the church and find a flat stone beside the third niche: Capella Chigi. The chapel is made solely out of chestnut marble. At the top, an arched dome with a sea of stars lights up. The 7 astronomical planets are painted, and underneath the 12 signs of the zodiac: pagan, earthly symbols with roots in the astronomy. The zodiac is directly tied up with earth, air, fire and water. The quadrant representing power, intellect, passion and feelings. Earth = power. Further down the wall there is a homage to the four seasons. On each side of the chapel are two 3 meter tall marble pyramids. On the front of each pyramide there is an ellipse shaped gold medallion.
From the floor a skeletton is smiling contemptuously from a marble mosaic, describing the escape of the death. In a hand the skeletton has a tableau with a picture of the same pyramide and the stars, as they saw outside. The mosaic has been made upon a stone with the form of a circle. The stone has been lifted from the floor and reveals a demonīs hole.
Looking down into the demonīs hole, they see a body. The body is apparently standing. Langdon steps down the ladder and on his way he sees several cavities in the wall, filled with craniums.
The crypt that he enters, has a diameter of 7 meters. The body of cardinal Ebner is standing up, buried in earth to his waist. His mouth has been filled with earth, and his hands are tied on his back. Further more the body has been fire burned with the word "earth" in English. The language of the pure. The fire burn mark is an ambigram.
It appears to Langdon, that Santa Maria del Popolo is the first Altor
of Science. Vittoria informs him, that Bernini must be the mysterious
Illuminator sculpturor. Langdon finds it difficult to believe this, as Bernini
was the wonder child of the Vatican and elected the Vatican's overall artistic
authority. He lived in the Vatican almost all his life. But Illuminati often referred to their anonymous artist: il maestro ignoto, the unknown master. On the sign behind them they find a plaque with the following inscription:
ART OF THE CHIGI CHAPEL
While the architecture is Raphaelīs,
all interior adornments are those of Gianlorenzo Bernini
Langdon wonders, why Bernini had made pyramides, as he used to make religious art with sculptures of Virgin Mary, angels, profets and popes. But Langdon realises, that Bernini must have been a member of Illuminati and the one, who created the ambigrams and made the Path of Illumination. And they now have to find a marker, which can point in the next direction.
In the church there is another piece of art by Bernini. Habakkuk and the Angel in white marble. Habakkuk was the profet who predicted the annihilation of the earth. The angel points in one direction, while Habakkuk points in another direction. Langdon finds out rather quickly, in which direction they ought to go. He does so because of the verse from Diagramma del Verita: Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.
Langdon sees no church in the south west direction. He tries to think of a Bernini sculpture, which has something to do with air. He walks back and asks Olivetti for a map, and crawls up upon the scaffold in front of the church. The only church he can see is Saint Peterīs Basilica. He crawls back down again. On the map, that Olivetti has given him, Langdon draws a line towards south west. The line crosses the Margherita bridge, Via Cola di Riezo and cuts through Piazza del Risorgimento, before it hits Saint Peterī Square.
Vittoria suggests, that the obelisk on Saint Peterīs Square could be the next mark. But it has not been created by Bernini, and Saint Peterīs Square is not in Rome, but in the Vatican. However, a guard tells them, that it is a discussed subject, whether Saint Peterīs Square is inside or outside the walls of the Vatican. The guard also mentions, that there is marble brick, built into the square, at the foot of the obelisk. It has the shape of an ellipse. And it has a picture of a breath of air. The guard knows this, as he has been on duty several times on the square. Langdon knows the relief. It is called Respiro di Dio, breath of God. Michelangelo designed Saint Peterīs Basilica, while Bernini designed Saint Peterīs Square. And now there is no longer doubt about where the next point on the Path of Illumination can be found.
Glick and Macri are waiting outside and record a sequence with the body of cardinal Ebner being carried outside into a car. They also see Langdon crawling up upon the scaffold. Later on they follow the 4 Alfa Romeos back over the Margherita bridge, turn into Via Cola di Reienzo and around Piazza Risorgimento and back to Saint Peters Square.
Berninis Triton fountain is found in the middle of Piazza Barberini. The square has been a discussed topic because of a metro station. Art historicans had feared, that the excavation under the square would make the heavy obelisk in the middle of the square fall, and it has been replaced by a small fountain, the Triton fountain. Triton rides a dolphin, while it blows in a shell, sending a storm over the sea, as the God of the Sea, Neptune, has commanded.
On the corner at Via di Quattro Fontane the famous Danish artist Thorvaldsen had his studio.
In the car on the way to Santa Maria del Vittoria, Kohler calls Vittoria and tells her, that he might know, to whom Leonardo Vetra gave the information about the antimatter.
In the meantime, Janus calls the murderer and tells him, that his position has been revealed, and that he must kill the ones, standing in his way, if neccessary.
Langdon and Vittoria keep an eye on the square from a passage on the western corner. Despite new buildings it is still possible to sense the ellipse shaped square. From the square a giant neon sign says: Hotel Bernini.
The church, Santa Maria del Vittoria, is situated in Piazza Barberini, and inside the church a sea of flames suddenly lights up the window.
Fact: the church is not situated in Piazza Barberini but in Via XX Settembre.
Santa Maria del Vittoria:
The church is built in a luxurious baroque style, and has golden walls and altors.
Under the dome, some chairs of wood have been put on fire. High above them hang two ropes, used for incense. A naked man floats through the ropes. His fists have been tied to each rope. He is being stretched out, looking like he has been put on an invisible cross. Cardinal Guidera is being burned alive.
Vittoria hears a sound, reminding hear of a vibrating cell phone. She has called colonel Olivetti. She walks to the end of the chairs and sees, that the colonel has been killed. At the same time she hears somebody breathing behind her, and everything turns black.
In the meantime, Langdon fights the fire to save the screaming cardinal, who is going through the last moments of his life, while he looks down his chest and sees that he has been branded:
Suddenly there is shooting towards Langdon, who tries to save himself by getting out. He crawls under the chairs and reaches the end. In the middle to his left is the sculpture: The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
Once again there is shooting against him, and he throws himself to the ground, slides over the marble floor and ends against the rail of an alcove of the right outer wall. Here he sees Vittoria, who has been tied up, but because of the shooting he is forced into the alcove with the shape of a semicircle. It holds a small coffin, made of marble and without decorations. It stands on two blocks of marble, and beneath them there is an opening. Langdon pulls himself under the coffin and out on the other side. The murderer shoots again, but runs out of ammunition. The murderer pushes the coffin over Langdon, but he is in a cavity. The murderer tries to strangle Langdon, but instead he gets the coffin down on his arm, when Langdon pushes the coffin and makes it fall the last bit of the way. The murderer roars and leaves the place. He walks to Vittoria, carries her outside and puts her into a van. Then he leaves the church.
The firefighters arrive at the church and extinguish the fire with halon-gas to spare the paintings. They find the body of Olivetti and hear the alarm from Langdons watch. He is saved and walks to The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa and follows the arrow from the angel. He thinks and tries to remember a Bernini sculpture, made in honour of water. The Triton fountain with Triton, the Greek sea god, could be an idea, but it is placed just outside the church. Neptune and Apollo is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He gets a map from one of the firefighters and makes a circle around the 3 churches, which until now have been parts of the Path of Illumination. They are in a straight-sided triangle. Langdon thinks about the sickle of the one dollar bill. The fourth church could be in the middle, but there is no church. And it would not fit with the other three either, as all 4 elements are equal. He tries to create a square, but it is not possible. He can create a rhomb, though.
Fact: The arrow of the angel does not point in the mentioned direction. It is pure fiction.
Suddenly he gets the idea to connect the four points and create a giant cross. The fourth point is Piazza Navona. Outside the church Sant Agnese in Agone, Bernini has created one of his most famous sculptures: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi - The four rivers fountain. A homage to the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube and Rio de la Plata, the four largest rivers in the old world. And the best is, that there is an obelisk on the fountain.
On his way out of the church towards Piazza Navona, he walks by Olivetti and grabs his gun and walkie talkie. Outside the church he tries to get a taxi, but as he does not succeed, he uses the gun to threaten a man to get out of his Citroën. He steps on the speeder and drives towards Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona has been called the outdoor living room of the Romans because of its cosy and intimate atmosphere. The ellipse shaped square follows the original plan of the ancient Stadium of Domitianis, established around the year 86. The remains of the stadium can be seen behind Piazza Navona and inside the crypt of the church Sant Agnese in Agone.
The four rivers fountain is placed in the middle of the square. It sends up a jet of water, lightened from below by underwater floodlights. The middle piece is more than 7 meters high. A mess of marble, filled with caves and grottos, from which the water sprays. The bank is covered by pagan figures. At the top stands an obelisk, which reaches further 13-14 meters up in the air. On the top there is a cross. But the fountain has no angel. It is pagan.
A van without lights drives around the square. Langdon hides himself in the dark beside the big stairway, leading up to the church Sant Agnese in Agone.
The car turns towards the fountain and stops, so that one side of the car is flush with the fountain, and with the sliding door placed just a few centimeters above the water. Langdon walks towards the fountain and climbs into the water, while he sees the murderer getting his fourth victim ready. Cardinal Baggia. The bottom is slippery and treacherous because of the many lucky coins, which have been thrown into the water. He hides behind a carved horse. He threatens the murderer and tells him to let the cardinal go. The murderer refuses to do so, and tells Langdon, that Vittoria is waiting in the Church of Illumination, and that he will never find it. The last step is the hardest.
Langdon and the murderer fight. Langdon shoots the murderer in his foot, but he does not succeed in saving the cardinal. The chains around the cardinal slides aside and reveals the fire burn mark: Water.
During the fight Langdon has to surrender to the murderer, who is too strong. He discovers one of the air tubes at the bottom of the fountain and gets air from it, while he tries to pull an act and pretend to have drowned. The murderer believes that Langdon has drowned and leaves the place.
Langdon looks for a clue that can lead him to the Church of Illumination. He looks for symbols, which Bernini could have placed among the hieroglyphs on the obelisk. But no. The hieroglyphs was several hundred years older than Bernini. It had not been possible to decipher the hieroglyphs before the finding of the Rosetta-stone.
Langdon looks at the top and notices that the bird, which he has seen earlier, still is sitting at the top and does not seem to have moved. He crawls up and sees that is is a bronze dove. A lonely dove is the pagan symbol for the angel of peace. It is looking towards the west. A pagan symbol on a pagan fountain. Langdon crawls further up and sees the earlier points on the Path of Illumination. His eyes set on a round castle in the west. It is inside a quadrant fortress, surrounded by a park with the shape of a pentagram.
At the top of the castle, a bronze angel sits enthroned. The angel stands with a sword, pointing directly down on the castle. Just outside the main entrance of the castle is the bridge Ponte SantīAngelo, Bridge of the angel, as a gangway, decorated with 12 angels holding their heads high, created by Bernini. The central line of the cross in the Path of Illumination runs directly through the castle. The castle is Castel SantīAngelo.
In the beginning of the book, the murderer has a meeting with his boss, Janus, in a medieval-like room, which later appears to be Castel SantīAngelo.
Later in the day, the murderer walks through a dark stone tunnel. Later this turns out to be Il Passetto.
From Piazza Navona Langdon drives at Lungotevere Tor Di Nona along the river Tiber towards Castel SantīAngelo. Fortress of Angels. He arrives at the SantīAngelo bridge, but it is only open to pedestrians. He gets out of the car and walks across the bridge. Through centuries the building has been used by the Vatican for tombs, fortress, home of the Pope and museum. It belongs to the Vatican, but today it is only used now and then. Bernini has made it go through several restorations, and there are stories about it being full of secret entrances, passages and secret chambers.
Langdon arrives at two heavy double doors, which are locked. He walks around the western corner at Lungotevere Castello, where there is another entrance with a drawbridge, which has been drawn up. A car from the press with an Australian journalist is parked on the other side of the square. Langdon persuades him to move his car, so that the parabol antenna with the 15 meters long extension arm can be used as a ladder. He grabs the upper part of the outer wall of the fortress and lets himself slide down on the outer bastion. He runs around the outer rampart and gets to the other side of the thick walls. He is now above the courtyard with a museum of old war equipment, catapult machines and lots of canon balls of marble. Parts of the fortress are open to tourists during the day. The 35 meter high core of the fortress has the bronze angel at the top. Langdon cannot get inside. He runs down a stone ramp which runs along the inner walls and gets to the courtyard. He runs further along the fortress clockwise, passes 3 entrances decorated with pillars, but none of them are in use. He continues. Two modern entrances are locked with padlocks.
He sees a track in the gravel on the backside of the drawbridge. The track leads into a kind of tunnel: Il traforo, a giant ramp formed like a spiral, winding up inside the fortress. It has been used by commanders, for them to be able to get quickly up and down on horseback. The door to the tunnel is open. But the tunnel is leading down. Langdon follows it and finds the van in the dark. He turns on the light in the ceiling of the car and follows the blood tracks of the murderer, from his wounded toe, to the corner of the room. A granite stone in the corner has been carved like a pentagram, pointing into the corner. A narrow chink between the walls hides the entrance. Langdon walks inside and gets to a bigger chamber with a lit torch. There is about 10 prison cells. In one of them he sees black gowns. This means that he has found the place, where the cardinals have been locked up.
Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher and poet, who was a follower of the theory of Kopernikus, was captured in 1593 and sat in prison for 7 years, before he was convicted as an incorrigible heretic, who would not deny his points of view. He was gagged and taken to the square of Campo dei Fiori in Rome, where he was burned. A statue of Giordano Bruno, created by Ettore Ferrari, was erected on the square in 1889.
An iron door in the wall is half open. On the wall above the door, Il Passetto is printed. The blood tracks leads him to the opposite side of the prison. A rusty gate hangs in some broken hinges. On the other side there is a steep winding stair, which has a stone shaped as a pentagram on the floor in front of it. The door opening is further more decorated with a small cherub. The stair winds steeply upwards undtil he believes himself to be exactly below the giant angel at the top of the building.
From a treshold in front of him, Langdon sees the light from torches. He sneaks inside and sees the murderer cut through Vittorias clothes with a knife. The room has the shape of an ellipse, and is decorated with pentagram shaped tiles, fresco-paintings of planets, doves and pyramides. Simple and stylish.
Langdon and the murderer fight. Langdon is forced out on to the balcony by the murderer, who suddenly is attacked by Vittoria with a torch. The murderer falls over the rail and lands in the middle of the canon balls in the courtyard, where he breaks his back.
From the balcony, Vittoria and Langdon sees the Popeīs helicopter arrive with Kohler, and they see corporal Rocher welcoming him.
A secret passage from Castel SantīAngelo to the Vatican. Parts of it is visible and not quite secret, as the book says. It is more like a wall with an inside passage, built in 852.
Isola Tiberina is a small island situated in the middle of the river Tiber. According to legend the island is the wreck of a ship, which sank in the Tiber. Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio was established here in 1548. However, the first hospital on the island goes back to the year 293 b.C., and it was originally a temple for the God of healing, Esculap.
Langdon falls down from the helicopter and lands close to the shore. The island has been used for isolating the sick during the Roman pest in 1656, and ever since it has had the reputation of having magic, healing properties. The island later became the place of the Roman hospital, Tiberina.
Link to website about Isola Tiberina.
Luxurious hotel, where Vittoria and Langdon relax after a hard day. Vittoria has rented a suite with a view to the Triton fountain.
Link to Hotel Bernini website, where you can book a night in a suite for yourself.
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