- "Why are you here?! Why do you disturb me?! You should be cleansing your homes, cleansing your SELVES!"
- ―Savonarola, after a mob swarms the Palazzo Pitti, 1498.[src]
Girolamo Savonarola (1452 – 1498) was a Dominican friar and the leader of Florence from 1494 to 1498. Despite having great ambitions, most men found him lacking the ability to be a great leader.
In 1488, Savonarola managed to obtain an Apple of Eden. Recognizing its powers, he used it to instigate the Bonfire of the Vanities in Florence; hoping to cleanse the city of everything he regarded as evil, such as art and wealth.
In 1475, Savonarola studied at Santo Spirito and became a Dominican friar. In 1482, he was dispatched to Florence, which his Order considered to be the "city of his destiny." During the 1480s, he made little impression and was often called a poor public speaker.
Seven years later, in 1487, Savonarola departed from Florence for Bologna.
Battle of Forlì
A year later, in 1488, Savonarola resided in Forlì for some time, where he caught wind of the existence of the Apple of Eden after passing by the Orsi brothers, who were conversing with Caterina Sforza. He eavesdropped on them, and from then on, kept a close eye on the Orsi pair.
By some means, Checco Orsi managed to take the Apple of Eden from Caterina and fled with it out of Forlì. Though he was pursued and killed by Ezio Auditore da Firenze, he managed to stab the Assassin in his lower abdomen, causing him to collapse.
Bonfire of the Vanities
After Charles VIII of France drove Piero de' Medici from Florence in 1494, Savonarola used the Apple he had stolen to take over Florence. After uniting the city under his banner, he began to destroy all Renaissance art pieces and books, due to his desire to revert the city back to Medieval times.
He also believed that all worldly possessions and pleasures, including fine clothes, musical instruments and even things like mirrors and money, were sinful and as a result, most of Florence's wealthy citizens were either openly persecuted, killed outright, or fled the city in fear for their lives. His loyal fanatics hunted down everything deemed sinful and on more than one occasion innocent blood was spilled, including that of Cristina Vespucci and her husband Manfredo Soderini.
When Pope Alexander VI, the Grand Master of the Templar Order, found out that Savonarola had the Apple of Eden in his possession, he sent several Papal troops to retrieve it, though with no success. Meanwhile, Ezio Auditore returned to Florence in 1497 and worked with Niccolò Machiavelli to overthrow Savonarola and retrieve the Apple of Eden.
Ezio concluded that Savonarola's rule was being enforced by his nine lieutenants, who were suppressing the Florentines. With this in mind, Ezio assassinated all nine of them, who had all been either lured into serving Savonarola, such as the Preacher, or were being controlled by the Apple like the Doctor.
In May of 1498, an angry mob gathered in front of Savonarola's residence at the Palazzo Pitti to stand up against him, having finally cracked under the mad monk's tyrannical regime, cruel words and deeds. Savonarola demanded to know why they were disturbing him when they should be cleansing their homes and selves, but was met only by angry shouts claiming that he had already stripped them of everything. Having failed to win them over with words, Savonarola tried to control the mob with the Apple of Eden, causing them to recoil in horror from the Apple's blinding light, but Ezio threw a knife at Savonarola's hand causing him to drop the artifact.
With Savonarola powerless, the mob swarmed him en masse and took him away, and a Templar guard fled with the Piece of Eden. Ezio chased after and killed the guard, reclaiming possession of the Apple once more.
Savonarola was taken by the Florentine citizens to his execution: being burned alive at the Piazza della Signoria. His repeated screeches and promises of the Florentines burning was met with jeers. In an act of mercy, Ezio decided that no one should die in such agony, and pushed through the crowd towards Savonarola, who was praying for deliverance. The Assassin then stabbed him in the neck with his Hidden Blade before the flames could reach him, ultimately ending his life.
Savonarola's death greatly upset the Borgia family, as it meant that the Apple had again become out of their reach. After his death, the ways of the Renaissance began to creep back into the city. As the Medici did not return, the power vacuum was filled by Piero Soderini, who had been a favorite of Piero de' Medici's while he was in power. The Medici ultimately returned in 1512 and exiled Soderini and Machiavelli, who had been in charge of the militia in their absence. A number of Savonarola's followers remained loyal to his cause, but were given an ultimatum by the church: renounce Savonarola or be "put to the sword."
- In 1488, Savonarola was missing his little finger, although the reason for this is unknown.
- During the memory "A Warm Welcome", Savonarola could be seen next to the gate when Niccolò Machiavelli and Caterina Sforza entered the city.
- Savonarola's historical execution differs from the game. In real-life, after he was excommunicated by Rodrigo Borgia, he and two followers had their last communion before they were hanged first before their bodies were burned. In the game, Savonarola is executed by being burned at the stake before being stabbed by Ezio as a mercy kill.
- Historically, Pope Alexander VI tolerated Savonarola's criticisms against the church, but after constant defiance, he had Savanarola hanged and burned at the stake. Additionally, the night before his execution, he was held in the tower of the Palazzo della Signoria - the same cells used to hold Giovanni Auditore da Firenze and his sons the night before their execution in 1476.
- Savonarola's character was quite similar to that of Jubair al Hakim from Assassin's Creed. Both men believed that knowledge was the path to evil and sin, and both organized massive bonfires throughout their cities to burn books and other sources of knowledge that they believed corrupted society. The memories which resulted in their assassinations were also very similar, as both situations had the respective Assassins take down each of the target's lieutenants before actually confronting them, though for Jubair, killing his lieutenants was optional.
- In Assassin's Creed: Renaissance, Ezio shot Savonarola with his Hidden Gun instead of stabbing him.
- Savonarola was mentioned in Machiavelli's The Prince, where his failure was used as a reference in the sixth chapter of the treatise; which stated "Moses, Cyrus, Theseus and Romulus would have been unable to have their constitutions obeyed for so long a time if they had been unarmed, as was the case in our own day with Fra' Girolamo Savonarola, who failed with his new laws as soon as the multitude no longer believed in them. He had no way to keep them faithful to what they had believed, or to force the unbelievers to believe."
- Savanarola's troops bear a monk insignia on their armor.
- Savonarola was the only assassination target in Assassin's Creed II that was obligatory for Ezio to kill (outside of the Memory Corridor) with his right Hidden Blade.