Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm Marrying Dan Brown's Italian Cousin

That's right folks! A little shameless plug for my soon-to-be husband's book, Il Culto del Graal, which has just come off the presses and is now for sale. It's currently only in Italian but if I get around to it one of these days, I'd love to translate it into English, because whenever he talks to English speakers about the book, they get really excited and say they want to read it.

Basically, Ale has written a book based on prior historical research and facts, along with his own original research, putting things together to propose new ideas about the "cult" surrounding the holy grail during the time of the Templar Knights. You may remember when we went to Naples to get a photo for the cover.

Ale knew of a small church in a small town in the small middle of almost nowhere, called Bominaco. Don't get me's a beautiful place. And the church, Ale discovered, just so happens to have the most symbols in one place relating to the holy grail and the Templar Knights than pretty much any other church of its kind in Europe. Intrigued by this, Ale started his research and made so many discoveries that there was enough for a book.

Strangely enough, in the period when he was writing this book, serendipitous events continued to happen one after the other. An example? We went to Paris last July to visit some friends who planned to take us on a day trip outside of the city. Turned out that the freeways were backed up and there was no way we could get to where we were supposed to go, so in last-minute desperation our hosts decided to take us to another place they knew. This place was Chartes, where there is an extremely important cathedral with symbolism that was valuable for Ale's manuscript, and there he found a piece that was missing in the overall puzzle of his work.

Another example: when Ale was called unexpectedly this summer to work on the movie set, the place they were filming, Trani, just so happened to have an important Templar Knights church with original examples of the symbolism Ale was researching for the book.

In making connections through various discoveries, Ale proposes an original theory as to the story surrounding why Pope Celestine V abdicated the papacy, conjecturing that he in fact had extremely close ties with the Templar Knights and this would have created serious problems for the Church. Celestine V is a leading figure in the book, and to this day remains an enigmatic figure within the Church. In fact, after he abdicated he was imprisoned by his successor, Boniface VII, and eventually died in prison. Ale even has a theory as to why there was a hole found in Celestine's skull, and it's not the typical historian's theory of him being murdered by Boniface.

On this note regarding the Church, Ale did try to consult the infamous "secret Vatican archives" for his work, but of course received no response. He was able to get in contact with another author who told him that it was impossible to try, that they don't grant access for research on these topics. So he instead worked like a detective, using all the original symbolism left behind by the actual Knights, to come up with his discoveries and theories.

It would be impossible here to go into everything presented in his book, which, by the way, is not a Dan Brown-style fiction novel but rather a quite readable non-fiction text that raises interesting questions surrounding the mystery of the actual Holy Grail (what was it? where was it? where is it?) but I will tell you one tantalizing tidbit he puts forth.

In very few churches do you find the symbol of a griffin drinking from a chalice. Ale found this symbol in both Bominaco and Chartes. He postulates that in the language of symbolism, this represents, in medieval Latin: CALIX (chalice) GRIFO (griffin).

If you take these two words as an anagram, mixing the letters up, you get GRAL OC FIXI, which in medieval Latin means "I buried the grail here."


No, we aren't going on any renegade excavations or digs in places where he found this, but there's also the pesky question of a secret room that he believes he has discovered under the church at Bominaco...

Well, until there's an English translation I'll leave you in suspense, but if you speak Italian, by all means I invite you to read the book. It can be purchased directly from the editor at Idee Nuove.


Gracie said...

I'll be in line tomorrow at my fav bookstore, be sure of it. My kind of reading, btw. Go Ale!!

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Gracie, it actually is only being sold through the editor at this point. I'll see what I can do about getting you a copy...Ale really loved that list you sent of all the other books on the topic, he's mentioned it more than once...

FinnyKnits said...

Congrats Ale on finishing your book!

It sounds absolutely riveting and I only wish it was available in day. My dad would LOVE it and the day it becomes available I will scoop up at least a few copies myself.

Meanwhile, perhaps I need to get working on my Italian...

Dixie said...

Wow! That's my kind of book. I really hope it's published in English sometime because I have enough trouble reading in German, nevermind trying to learn Italian too. :)

Congratulations to Ale! I hope it sells very well!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sounds like such a cool book!
I am having such a good time reading your blog. I am an american and my fiancee is from Rome, and so there are a lot of funny things in your blog I can relate to! :)
Best of luck to you and Ale!

visit me @

chris & erin said...

oh fun! this sounds interesting! Congrats on your fast-approaching wedding :)

Hey, I'd like to contact you about staying in your apartments in Sept!

Julie said...

Wow, that's a lot of research!

Jeff Gromen said...

Interesting sounding book. I didn't have much interest in this until I moved here. Did Ale look into a curious church we have here in Brindisi? It's a little round church in the center of town dedicated to the Knights Templar. They just recently covered it up completely for renovation so I can't see if it has the Griffin and calice symbol. Who knows what they'll find?


Cynthia Rae said...

Congrats on the book! What an acomplishment! I will be sure to pick one up for Danilo (too bad my Italian isn't any better...maybe one day...).


ekimrue said...

Bravo! I want five copies..can't wait to see you guys!