This is the man himself, as he is best remembered. A copy of his burial monument, this statue shows him astride his armored destrier, sword in hand, Hounds Helm hanging off his neck, smiling his world-famous allegria.
A different view of a different copy, this time sans sword.
From the moment the Inferno was published, Cangrande della Scala was associated with the mythical "Greyhound" of the prophecy in the opening canto. That his name - cane grande - meant "great hound" was seen as a further sign.
Is it any wonder, then, that his symbol was the hound?
The ladder is my addition, but only because the shield was inappropriately blank.
When they exhumed Cangrande della Scala at the start of the last century, they discovered, unsurprisingly, that he had been buried with his sword. A one-handed weapon, easily used from the saddle, this is a copy by the Del Tin armories, which has this sword available for purchase. For more information, visit www.deltin.net
The official crest of the della Scala family. Note the ladder in the center, from which the family takes its name.
The same design, only here it is part of the iron gate that surrounds the churchyard of Santa Maria Antica, guarding the monuments to the della Scala family.
As you can see, the ladder shows up everywhere in the city.
On gates, on locks, on windows - I wonder if they started branding it on people.
Hmm. Not a terrible idea...
...where we lay our scene.
I keep mentioning my lovely wife, the unsung heroine of this novel. This is us last year outside St. Peter's in Rome, not Verona. But there are precious few shots of us together.
This book was very much a joint effort. A great deal of the research was done by Jan, and most of the "David, don't screw around with concept, just write the damn story" comments, too. Darling, I couldn't have done it without you.
I have lots of photos of this, but I hesitated to put even one up. While it was indeed built in the late 13th century, La Casa Di Giulietta was actually bought by the city in 1905 and turned into a tourist attraction.
Digression: The balcony that you can see in this yard was glued on to the building around the time they started billing the place as the setting for the famous scene. There is an actual, period balcony a floor above the fake balcony that runs the length of the building, and looks down not only on the courtyard, but on the rooftop of the neighboring building. Interesting, that.
Further digression: I have qualms about using a balcony at all. Shakespeare never mentions a balcony. Never. He says window, and he says it several times. But it’s the Balcony Scene, right? It’s gotta have a balcony! Who cares what Shakespeare actually wrote?
Okay, setting aside my disdain for the tourist trap, the interior has some very cool frescos, ceilings, stairs, and windows.
It is my belief, and I could certainly be wrong, that "Juliet's Hosue" is two or three renaissance domiciles with the walls knocked out to make one grand home.
The colored marble that Verona is famous for.
The inside looking out on the faux balcony. Look at the upper part of the window. That design came to Verona through Venice, when the Crusaders returned enamored of Eastern architecture.
Lovely. And look at the fragments of fresco.
The dining hall, I suppose. You can barely make it out, but the design on the fireplace is a hat, kind of like Dopey's hat in Snow White.
The design on this fireplace is the della Scala ladder. But look at the ceiling!
Okay, seriously, I know - Juliet's house isn't even in this first novel. But this is the best example I have of the period, since I can't get into the Scaligeri palace. It'll have to do!
This is the official cover for THE MASTER OF VERONA
This was the earliest design for the cover
Also known as the Piazza di Dante for the statue of him in its center, this is the main setting for The Master of Verona. Off to the right is Cangrande's palace.
The yellow building is too recent, a Venetian confection.
Cangrande's palace, as seen from one of Verona's famous 48 towers.
The market square, just a city block west of the Piazza di Dante.
The small churchyard of Santa Maria Antica holds the burial monuments to the della Scala family. This is the monument to Mastino II, Cangrande's nephew and, according to my own timeline, the Prince of the play Romeo & Juliet.
The largest Roman theatre still in use in the world, its concentric circles was Dante's inspiration for his design of Hell.
Jan and I saw Coldplay perform here in 2005.
This is the backside of the Roman Arena in Verona, as viewed from our swanky rooms in the Hotel Milano.
This is from A. M. Allen's A HISTORY OF VERONA. It shows Verona as it was during the height of its power, around the mid-14th century. The inset is of the Piazza del Signoria, known today as the Piazza di Dante for the massive statue of the poet that resides in its center.
From A. M. Allen's A HISTORY OF VERONA, this is the region around Verona, sometimes known as the Feltro. All this territory Verona ended up controlling, from the Brenner Pass through the alps down past Mantua as far as Luca, and as far east as Padua and Treviso. All due to Cangrande.
Taken from A. M. Allen's A HISTORY OF VERONA. This is the far-shot, the whole of Lombardy, the northern part of Italy.
This is the villa bought by Dante's son Pietro in 1353. Today it is the vineyard and home of his descendant, Count Pier-Alvins Serego-Alighieri.
This is the crest of the Alighieri clan before they joined their fortunes to the Serego family. As you can see, it is laid down in the colored marble Verona is famous for.
A photo taken by my wife of me with Count Pier-Alvins Serego-Alighieri, just outside his amazing home. The Count was gracious with his time and answered many questions before showing us around his muesum-quality home. This would have been June, 2002.
A closer shot of the Serego-Alighieri home.