- "Family. Justice. Honor. These are the values guiding my blade. This truth is written in blood, and the shadows are where I strike. I am Giovanni Auditore, and like my ancestors before me, I am an Assassin."
- ―Giovanni Auditore.[src]
Giovanni Auditore da Firenze (1436 – 1476) was a Florentine nobleman, the head of the Auditore family in Florence, and is an ancestor to both Clay Kaczmarek and Desmond Miles, the latter through the paternal line.
Despite being the head of the Auditore International Bank, working alongside the Medici family, Giovanni's true nature as a member of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins was known only to a few individuals. Raised and trained along with his brother Mario from birth to be an Assassin, Giovanni had been aware of the Templar Order for almost all of his life.
Giovanni was also the husband of Maria Auditore, and father to Federico, Ezio, Claudia and Petruccio. He sought to induct his children into the Order, but had only revealed his allegiance to his wife before the time of his death; despite this, he had already begun to train his eldest son in the Assassin ways, albeit secretively.
- "Tu sei un Auditore. Sei un combattente. Perciò combatti! (You are an Auditore. You are a fighter. So fight!)"
- ―Giovanni speaking to Ezio at his birth.[src]
In time, Giovanni left the family villa and joined his relative Ilario Auditore in Florence, who served as Gonfaloniere to Cosimo de' Medici. In 1452, Giovanni met and married Maria de' Mozzi, to whom he revealed himself to be an Assassin. After four years, their first son Federico was born, followed by Ezio in 1459, Claudia in 1461, and Petruccio in 1463.
In 1454, Giovanni also aided the members of his Brotherhood in dealing with the Shroud of Eden. After Mario had uncovered the artifact underneath Monteriggioni, he summoned his brother to bring it out of the city, and into the protection of the Order.
In 1455, Giovanni first encountered a young Lorenzo de' Medici, grandson to Cosimo. Lorenzo had fallen into the Arno river, and would have drowed had Giovanni not jumped in and rescued him. As result of this event, Lorenzo later became Giovanni close friend and patron; forging the ties between their families.
Around 1456, Giovanni represented in court the daughter of two Assassins, Paola, who had killed a guard who attacked her. Giovanni won the case with self-defense plea. Afterwards, Paola joined the Assassins and her sister Annetta became a servant for the Auditore's family.
Giovanni also eventually revealed his true nature as an Assassin to Lorenzo, and undertook several missions for him behind the backs of his own children. In 1476, Giovanni tracked down Rodrigo Borgia, Grand Master of the Templar Order, in a Florentine alleyway.
Although Giovanni managed to eliminate two of his bodyguards and incapacitate the third, Rodrigo escaped. The Assassin then handed the third guard over to Uberto Alberti, the current Gonfaloniere of Florence, for questioning.
Pursuing Rodrigo Borgia
Through torture, the bodyguard revealed that Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the Duke of Milan, was to be assassinated by the Templars, of which Giovanni was quickly sent to prevent it. Though he unfortunately arrived too late to save the Duke, Giovanni was able to eliminate some of his murderers, while the Duke's bodyguards killed the rest.
With all of the Duke's killers dead, Giovanni searched the corpse of Giovanni Andrea Lampugnani, and found a pouch of coins stamped with the winged lion of Venice. Recognizing the seal, he immediately set off for the city.
Arriving in Venice, Giovanni infiltrated the Basilica di San Marco and eavesdropped on a group of men conversing in a nearby room. The two men, Marco and Silvio Barbarigo, then dispatched a courier, with a message for their master in Rome.
Giovanni chose to pursue the courier, before finally confronting him in a secluded area. After a lengthy battle, he overpowered and pinned down the courier, with his Hidden Blade held to the man's throat. However, refusing to answer his questions, the courier impaled himself on the blade, leaving Giovanni frustrated, albeit with a letter sealed with the crest of the House of Barbarigo. From there, Giovanni returned to Florence and presented the letter to Lorenzo, although they found that it was encoded.
That night, Giovanni was summoned to meet with Lorenzo and Uberto. Before leaving, Maria reminded her husband that their son, Ezio, who was watching them from behind a nearby haystack, was becoming suspicious of his banker father having to leave their home at night so often. Giovanni promised that he would speak with him soon, and then left.
Arriving at the meeting, Uberto falsely claimed that Father Antonio Maffei had been unable to decrypt the letter, and that the only course of action was for Giovanni to deliver the letter himself. To this, Giovanni agreed, and headed for Rome with a copy of the letter in hand.
In Rome, he delivered the letter, and followed it until it reached the hands of Rodrigo Borgia. Giovanni then followed Rodrigo into St. Peter's Basilica, where the two finally exchanged words. Rodrigo remarked his respect for the Assassin's skills, and offered him the chance to join the Templar Order, so that he could live to see the "new world."
Giovanni refused, and was subsequently attacked by a number of Rodrigo's henchmen. Despite being heavily outnumbered, he prevailed, although a knife thrown by Rodrigo wounded him gravely, and allowed the Templar the opportunity to escape.
Giovanni returned home, where his wife tended to his wound. During this time, he confessed to her that he feared the assassination of the Duke of Milan had only been the beginning of a much wider conspiracy. Before he could go on however, the two were interrupted by their son Federico, who warned him that Father Maffei had arrived with armed guards.
Asking his son to provide him cover, Giovanni slipped out of the palazzo through a secret passage within the fireplace.
Betrayal and execution
- "You are the traitor, Uberto – and one of them! You may take our lives this day, but we will have yours in return, I swear! We will–"
- ―Giovanni's final words.[src]
At some point after this, Giovanni found evidence suggesting Francesco de' Pazzi had committed murder, and so he had Uberto Alberti arrest him. As a result, Francesco's son Vieri developed an intense rivalry with his son Ezio.
In 1476, following a brawl between the two on the Ponte Vecchio, Giovanni scolded his son for his behavior, although he noted that it reminded him of himself when he was younger. He then tasked Ezio with delivering a letter to Lorenzo, but was surprised to learn that Lorenzo had left the city for a short while. Undeterred, Giovanni had Ezio deliver several more letters, and had him pick up a letter from a pigeon coop near to the Piazza della Signoria.
While his son was away, however, armed guards sent by Uberto suddenly invaded the Palazzo Auditore. As a result, Giovanni and his two other sons were arrested, and taken to be imprisoned in the tower of the Piazza della Signoria.
Before long, Ezio had managed to climb the clock tower, where Giovanni told him to empty his chest in the room behind the fireplace, and retrieve the evidence exonerating him and his family. Ezio did so, and delivered the evidence to Uberto that night.
The next day however, Giovanni was shocked to find Uberto and Rodrigo Borgia together, with Uberto denying ever receiving any evidence. Following this, Giovanni and his sons were sentenced to death on the grounds of treason. A horrified Ezio, who witnessed the ordeal from below, cried out that Uberto was lying, but he was unable to prevent his father's hanging.
Hours later, Giovanni's corpse was to be disposed of in the Arno, though Ezio was able to retrieve his father and his kin's bodies, before giving them a proper funeral by floating them out on the river in pyre ships.
- "My dear sons, dark skies are rising over Florence and time is running low. The enemy is closer than I thought. Now, the final battle is about to unfold. Every man is mortal, every life bounds to an end but certain things will never change. Federico and Ezio, my sons, always remember: we are the Auditore da Firenze and we are Assassins."
- ―Giovanni Auditore.[src]
Despite his death, Giovanni's actions would have lasting consequences for his surviving family members, particularly his son, Ezio Auditore.
Having priorly prepared for a turn of events such as those what ultimately happened, Giovanni had arranged for his live-in servant Annetta to take his wife and daughter to her sister's establishment, where they would be safe. There, Annetta's sister Paola, a courtesan that Giovanni had previously represented in court and had introduced into the Assassin Order, provided Ezio with some basic training in blending, and gave him the skills necessary to execute his revenge on Uberto Alberti before he left the city.
When Ezio arrived in Monteriggioni, his uncle Mario was shocked to discover that his brother had never told Ezio of his Assassin heritage, or that Giovanni himself had indeed been an Assassin. Despite this, Ezio soon vowed to take up his father's work, which included locating what remained of the Codex, and to avenge his death with the blood of Rodrigo Borgia and his Templar allies.
Personality and characteristics
- "There will come a day in which men no longer cheat each other. And on that day we will see what mankind is truly capable of."
- ―Giovanni Auditore.[src]
Giovanni was trained from birth in the Assassin ways, alongside his brother Mario. Despite this mutual upbringing, the two parted ways later on, due to a philosophical divide over how to live their lives.
Giovanni, who had been tutored in banking, preferred to live a calmer life, whereas Mario wished for more action. This difference eventually led to the two brothers losing touch with one another; to such a degree that upon his arrival in Monteriggioni in 1476, Ezio Auditore was unaware who exactly his uncle was.
The divide also affected how Giovanni brought up his children, with none of them explicitly knowing of their heritage; however, although his children were unaware of his true nature, Giovanni did allow others to know of it, trusting in their secrecy. Among these were many of Giovanni's contacts within the mercenaries, courtesans, and thieves guilds, who knew the Assassin by name, suggesting a certain degree of mutual trust between them.
Despite never telling his children of their heritage, Giovanni did work to prepare them for life as an Assassin. By the time of his death, he had already begun tutoring his eldest son, Federico, in the Assassin ways, and was preparing to begin training Ezio as well. A strict father, Giovanni nonetheless showed great affection for his children, and saw a younger version of himself in their antics at times.
Equipment and skills
Customarily armed with his Hidden Blade, sword, short blade and at least two throwing knives, Giovanni was a skilled warrior, who proved himself able to hold his own against multiple opponents in combat. He was also a competent free-runner, much like his sons, and would often use the skill when shadowing a target.
- "Giovanni" is an Italian and Hebrew name meaning "God is gracious." The name "Auditore" is the Italian word for "auditor."
- Giovanni knew about Ezio's Eagle Vision, although it is unknown if he too possessed the skill.
- Giovanni left his Assassin outfit behind for Ezio to find; however, in Assassin's Creed: Lineage, it lacked the characteristic eagle's beak on the hood, as well as several other details.
- The sword that Giovanni stored for Ezio was the common sword, but in the cutscene where Giovanni was killed, it was replaced by an old Syrian sword.
- Giovanni died at the age of forty, the same age which Ezio was when he confronted Rodrigo Borgia in Rome.
- In Assassin's Creed: Renaissance, Giovanni was the last member of the Auditore family to be hanged. During this, he called Uberto a traitor and that the deaths of his family would be avenged, among other things, before walking towards the gallows and meeting his fate. In Assassin's Creed II, the Auditore were hanged simultaneously, and Giovanni was killed before he could finish speaking.
- In the novel, Mario told Ezio that Giovanni’s Hidden Blade was a family heirloom, passed down from father to son, and that it "was broken in a...confrontation (Giovanni) was involved in many years ago, but he could never find a craftsman skilled or trustworthy enough to restore it."
- In Lineage, the blade was broken mere days before the beginning of the game.
- The Hidden Blade bracer that Giovanni used and passed on to Ezio was replaced in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood after the Fall of Monteriggioni, and was not seen subsequently. However, many years later, Desmond Miles received a bracer identical to it in modern times.