Castra Praetoria

REBECCA84: A set of those coordinates Shaun took from Subject 16 converges on this landmark. Maybe you should check it out?

The Castra functioned as the ancient barracks for the Praetorian Guard of Imperial Rome. After Constantine's victory over Maxentius in 312, he destroyed the barracks. Although the Guard had been the Emperor's protectors for centuries and were simply doing their job defending Maxentius, it appears Constantine was unable to forgive them. They were disbanded forever.

Tell about a bad day at work.


La Rosa della Virtù

Located at the crossroads where sex and religion collide, La Rosa della Virtù (The Rose of Virtue) was run entirely by former nuns. The Pope repeatedly attempted to force the Venetian Council to shut down the brothel, but it remained open until a fire in 1516 consumed it.

Although the Church tried to claim divine intervention, jurists found the fire to have been set by a disgruntled bishop who wanted to lie with one of the girls for free. Act of God indeed.


Palazzo Auditore

Completed in 1473, the Palazzo Auditore is notable for its crucial rusticated stonework and Roman pilasters. Giovanni Auditore designed the palazzo himself, based on initial sketches by Leone Battista Alberti.

Once built, the palazzo became a fixture of the Santa Maria Novella district. Lorenzo de' Medici mentioned in a letter addressed to Giovanni dated 1474, that he admired the facade's lack of "ostentation".



Built in the 13th century by the overlords of Siena, Monteriggioni was actively involved in the defence of Tuscany against Florentine attempts to gain more territory. At the front of this conflict was the Auditore family, who became the city's rulers and protectors. It was the Auditore who constructed Monteriggioni's famous walls, which can still be seen today. Although standing in opposition to Florentine desires, the Auditore had cordial relations with the Medici family, largely due to their collective Florentine roots.

Monteriggioni successfully withstood attacks from Florence, until in 1554, the city was betrayed. Giovannino Zeti, the keeper of the garrison and a Florentine exile, was allowed to return to Florence in exchange for the keys to the city.

Extraordinarily, the Auditore were allowed to continue their rule of Monteriggioni under Florentine leadership, showing that the Medici do not forget their friends.

Leonardo's Machines

Castel Dell'Ovo

A medieval castle located on the former island of Megaride, the Castel Dell'Ovo is named for a legendary Roman poet who was believed to be a great sorcerer. Legend tells us that he placed a magical egg in the structure's foundation to support it.

The original edifice was a fortified villa where the last Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustus, was exiled in 476. Some contend Romulus acquired a strong distaste for omelettes during his stay there.

I wonder why?

Colli Albani

These volcanic hills stand 20 kilometers southeast of Rome. The dominate peak, Monte Cavo, has two small calderas, both containing lakes, one of which is called the Lago di Nemi. The summit was often the site for celebrations by Roman generals after victories during the era when it was illegal for them to do so in Rome.

Lago di Nemi

Roughly 30 kilometers south of Rome, this small volcanic lake is named for the largest town in its vicinity, Nemi. It is most renowned for its massive sunken Roman ships, the larger of which are thought to have been elaborate floating palaces of the 1st century. Some of the technology found on these ships was believed to have been invented only recently, including complex heating systems and plumbing for baths.

Monte Circeo

Otherwise known as Cape Circeo, Monte Circeo now exists as a promontory marking the southwestern limit of the Pontine Marshes about 100 kilometers southwest of Rome. On the east ridge of the promontory, geologists found remains of ancient fortifications. Who they belonged to is unclear but it's certainly a picturesque location to bunker down.

Monte Vesuvio

Arguably one of the most fabled volcanoes in history, Vesuvio destroyed both Pompeii and Herculaneum when it erupted in 79 C.E., both of which were never rebuilt. Since that catastrophe, the sleeping monster has erupted three dozen times. It's still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, as over 3 million people live within range of a major eruption. I hear property is cheap right now, maybe we should invest.


More than 2,800-years-old, Napoli (or Naples) has a deep and rich history, its roots lying in a Greek settlement founded during the 8th century B.C.E. Control of the city changed hands numerous times throughout its existence and for a period bounced back and forth between the Goths and Romans. In one famous account, the Byzantine Romans retook the city by entering on its aqueduct and bypassing the heavily guarded gates.

In the Middle Ages, the Normans took control and stayed in power for 300 years while their leaders and nobles feuded over who the rightful ruler was. Following their reign, control of the prosperous merchant city shifted between a host of city states and countries including France and Spain.

French rule began in 1501 under Louis XII. French control, however, only lasted until 1505, when Ferdinand seized power in the name of Spain. During this time, Naples became one [of] Europe's biggest cities, second only to Paris, as well as a cultural powerhouse of the Renaissance boasting artists like Laurana, de Messina and Poliziano.


A tributary of the Tevere (Tiber), this 116 kilometer river flows almost entirely in Umbria, Italy. I might also add it has some spectular fly fishing which I'll likely be taking advantage of if we survive this ordeal.

You are not invited.

Porto di Napoli

Located directly east of Castel Nuovo, the Porto di Napoli has always been a center of commerce for the city. The Porto's history reaches as far back as the Greeks, who first settled Napoli in the 9th century B.C.E.

As the city grew, the harbour's roll in European trade followed suit.


A valley formed by the Italian Nera in the mountains of Umbria, the Valnerina was known for its winding roads and steep narrow passes. It was a particularly challenging landscape to navigate.


Castel Viana

A large fortified palace in Viana held by Louis de Beaumont and besieged by Cesare Borgia's army of some 10,000 men. The castle was an extremely strong natural fortification and essentially impenetrable at the time. As a result, Cesare besieged the castle to weaken the forces inside, counting on a desperate surprise attack. He got his wish.


I suppose you want to know how Cesare got here. I'll indulge you.

It was 1506. He was imprisoned in Castile. A sympathetic count smuggled in a rope, Cesare climbed out the window and dropped 70 feet, fracturing several bones, but his fall was broken by a servant who preceded him. Both the servant's legs were snapped and he was left to be captured and executed. Cesare escaped in merchant's clothing and chartered a small ship in Santander. He reached Navarre, the court of his brother-in-law. At the time, Navarre was dealing with upheavals secretly led by the Castilians. The King asked Cesare to command his army of 10,000. He was to retake Viana Castle from the Count of Lerin and the Castilians aiding him.

Excitedly, he wrote a letter to Lucrezia: "Once the Castle has been pacified, I will regain the support of the French and march back into Rome".


Delizia di Belriguardo

Built in 1435 by Niccolò III d'Este as a summer home, Belriguardo was continuously added to until it became one of the most celebrated places in Italy. It featured stabling for five hundred horses, secret passages, stately corridors, marble loggias, box-lined gardens and a chapel painted by Cosimo Tura. And if that isn't enough to spark your interest, it contained a succession of vast frescoed halls, leading to Sala di Psiche with its renowned series of murals detailing the Roman myths. To quote an awed visitor: "Seeing this beautiful palace with its glazed and iron-grilled windows, I should think that a circuit of the place would be more than a mile."

Of course, all good things must come to an end, while all bad things, like aging pop divas and 70s style, are seemingly never-ending. In 1598, the Este family left, and Belriguardo became a stable, with horses living in the frescoed rooms.

Today, little remains of the palace.