Following the Path of the Illuminati

Many fans of the novel from Dan Brown, called Angels & Demons traveled to Rome to follow the path for themselves. Many wanted to gain more information over the landmarks part of the path.

Santa Maria della Vittria

Following the path starts at the Church of Santa Maria, reaching the Church of del Popolo or earth, it was reported to stand out at the base of the hill like a misplaced battleship. Upon entering the church, they started looking for the Chigi Chapel, which represents the first altar of the science. This landmark is where the murder of the first cardinal took place in Brown’s novel. The statues of the angle and Habakkuk was found inside the chapel.

Continuing on the path leads to the St. Peter’s Square, which is home to a Catholic Church, the largest in the world. This is also the spot where the second cardinal’s body was discovered with the cause of death being his ribs punctured according to the novel.

Santa Maria della Vittria: The third altar

The Santa Maria della Vittria, meaning fire is the third altar. Reported as hard to find, the church is not a path typically taken by tourists. The church is home to the statue called the Ecstasy of St. Teresa. Located in the Cornaro Chapel, it has been described as a pornographic statue by many. It is truly the most unfit art piece ever to be placed in a church. In Angels & Demons, this is where a cardinal was found with his arms tied to cables and what was burning him alive was the fire beneath him. The church is full of cables hanging and the expression of the women sculptured in the ecstasy of Santa Teresa is one of pleasure.

The Fourth Altar

Following the described path in the novel then leads to the fourth altar of science, this time, it is the fountain of the four rivers. In this sculpture, Bernini pays glorified tribute to water, and this landmark is visited by all tourists. The fountain includes four male figures that represent the four main rivers that are found on four continents. The Danube River in Europe, The Nile in Africa, the Ganges River is in Asia and lastly the Rio della Plata in America. Brown write in his novel that this is where the last murder of a cardinal took place.

And on a map, the places do form a cross and is about a walk of 20 km. The Church of Illumination, which is the St. Peter’s are breath-taking, it’s guarded on the outside, but gaining entrance leads to a majestic tomb, in the story the place where the anti-matter canister was hidden. This must see spot is close to the Saint Peter’s Church and since the novels popularity, it’s just one of the markers that show an increased interest from tourists.

Dan Brown got thousands hooked when Angles & Demons was released as a novel, the movie with Tom Hanks in the leading role, ensured that even more readers became Brown fans.