HANNIBAL LECTER IN FLORENCE
I know, they will never, ever let me out while I’m alive. What I want is a view. I want a window where I can see a tree, or even water.
In respect of the years spacing two stories, this short piece of one among the legendary dialogues has shown something more than an ingenious desire of Lecter to shift his prison cell for another ‘preferable’ place for a forever detention. His aesthetic nature, as well as wide reading erudition, a penchant for philharmonic orchestra performances, good food, and best suits, was beaconing us on his much more ‘ambitious’ plans for his own future. Within a span of the eight years of detention within the no-window basement of the Baltimore institution, his mind was far beyond the bars of the cell to reflect the never to be forgotten images from the past on paper. Another close look at these Hannibal-Starling scenes in ‘Silence of the lambs’ takes out a picture of Florence from the frightening background.
Did you do all these drawings, Doctor?
That is the Duomo, seen from the Belvedere. You know Florence?
All that detail just from memory, sir?
Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have instead of a view.
The ‘Hannibal’ movie leaves aside a chain of events right after a ‘dinner’ with doctor Chilton, but before Lecter’s new appointment as the caretaker of the precious library. The nature of the name of the former guardian (Bonaventura — a lucky one) had a little impact on his competing interests with Dr. Fell (Lecter indeed) as the predecessor vanished and perished. While the learned men of Florence art world are questioning his authority to obtain a post of such local significance, Lecter himself sets his mind at rest. He uses Dr. Fell identity to accommodate a luxurious apartment in the very heart of Florence, to make his daily walking routine along the streets and sites, he finds pleasure in a cup of morning coffee or a glass of wine in a cafe and have enough time and self-confidence to send perfumed letters to Clarice Starling, his object of affection.
PIAZZA SIGNORIA / PALAZZO VECCHIO
INSPECTOR PAZZI FACES HANNIBAL LECTER
Clarice Starling sinks into disturbing research of the tapes of their former dialogues with Lecter and one of the doctor’s monologues is being movie-magic shifted with a panoramic view over Florence. We examine a Chief Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi, a man who finishes his cigarette within the world-famous Piazza Della Signoria. It was named after the Palazzo Della Signoria palace, known for centuries as Palazzo Vecchio, on the other hand, owned its own name from the medieval governmental board once shaped the future of the Florentine Republic. The filming crew of the ‘Hannibal’ movie did cover Florence from May 8 to June 5, 2000, within a peak tourist season, which makes such a shot of an empty Piazza Della Signoria only possible in the early morning, far more early than the working day in Palazzo Vecchio usually starts. We can take a long soft shadow of the Inspector for granted, combine it with a 5.30 sunset in Florence in May to assume the very early moving shift on that very date. Along toward the afternoon, the sun makes its way ‘behind’ Palazzo Vecchio a square finds its place in a shadow. Inspector Pazzi behaves himself in a questionable manner by dropping a cigarette stub on a square, an act which years later make cost painful financial harassment.
Inspector takes his way to the Palazzo Vecchio courtyard, known as the ‘Cortile di Michelozzo’ and named after an architect, who had renewed it back in the XV century. Pazzi in a movie shatters the shortest way to get into the legendary ‘Salone Dei Cinquecento’ hall and uses an LEO X room instead, devoted to a Pope, born into a family of Medici. The Mayor of Florence currently occupies this luxurious premise as well as the City Council. While the collegium of the authorized men perceives a monologue on the doubtful competence of a foreigner to be a guardian, we have a chance to satisfy with one among the most grandiose halls in the whole world, far beyond Italy. Each of the 38 panels on the ceiling of 21 meters high eternalized scenes from the history of Florence and the Medici family, as well as the huge paintings on the walls once meant to do. It should be mentioned that back in 2000 the ‘Salone Dei Cinquecento’ hall witnessed the renewal works.
— Commendator. How can I be of service?
— I’m sorry. I’m investigating the disappearance of your predecessor, Signor De Bonaventura. I was wondering
— ‘Predecessor’ implies I have the job. Unfortunately, I don’t, not yet, though I am hopeful. They are letting me look after the library, for a stipend.
ISTITUTO DEGLI INNOCENTI / PALAZZO CAPPONI ALLE ROVINATE
The shots of Clarice reading a new message from Lecter on the far side of the Atlantic ocean, are being shifter with night panorama of Florence. At this very moment, we forward our location to ‘Piazza Della Santissima Annunziata’ (Square of the Holy Annunciation), named after the same-name Basilica, the main sepulcher of the Mother of God in Florence. Leaving two fountains beyond the perspective, the camera shows what is meant to be Lecter’s accommodation through the prism of the bronze statue of a man on a horse. This monument of 1608 was dedicated to glorifying the Ferdinand I of the Medici family. The very windows depicted as the Florentine residence of Dr. Fell (Dr. Lecter) in fact deals a little with residential housing. The building is known as ‘Istituto Degli Innocenti’ ( ‘Hospital of the Innocents’), a former orphan home, built back in 1419 in baroque style, which has only granted the exterior shots for the movie. Each of the interior scenes was in fact shot in Palazzo Capponi Alle Rovinate, a residence with a six-century history, a place where you can indeed rent a luxurious apartment, which the ‘Hannibal’ filming crew once did.
VIA DEI GEORGOFILI
LECTER SENDS A LETTER
The parallel montage of the shots with Doctor Lecter and Clarice Starling intensifies us into the writing-and-reading process of the letters with ambergris perfume. Companioning a letter with semi-erotic pictures and his own spit, Lecter puts his envelope into a red mailbox with a desolated foggy alley on the background. This cozy street, known as ‘Piazzale Degli Uffizi’, named after the famous Uffizi Gallery and meant a ‘Square of Chancellery’. Just under a distance of 200 meters, this passage, which originates from the Arno river smoothly merges with the Piazza Signoria square, an initial location with Inspector Pazzi smoking a day before. As can be judged from the early fog and the absence of people near the city landmark, the scene was shot not long after the sunrise. The in fact location does not have a mailbox. Doctor Lecter continues his morning routine with a cup of espresso coffee on Signoria square, just a few hundred meters from the letter-box.
VIA DEGLI STROZZI / PALAZZO STROZZI
INSPECTOR PAZZI VISIT POLICE DEPARTMENT AND FOLLOWS LECTER
Inspector Pazzi rolls over his police station, being self-disturbed with a thought to get desirable tickets for the opera to please his young wife. He crosses a busy Florentine street called ‘Via Degli Strozzi’, named after the square and a palace of the same notion to go by. Already within doors, the inspector takes notice on tape from the perfumers’ saloon, requested by the FBI. Pazzi confusedly identifies Dr. Fell and recollects a non-convenient cheat-chat that had in Palazzo Vecchio a day before. In doing so, he initiates a chain of events that would lead to Pazzi’s death. Then we could see an inspector who waits for Dr. Fell, making his time at the wall of the Palazzo Strozzi, which once was the largest building of Renaissance style in Florence, built back in 1493. This very spot is only one crossroad away from the location meant to be a police station.
PAZZI SPIES ON LECTER IN A STREET CAFE
Regardless of the fact, that Lecter made his way in the opposite direction to the city center in the previous scene, we find him in a street cafe within the Piazza Signoria square. It is the very same restaurant he had his morning coffee and now Lecter avoids fingerprinting a glass of white wine. Overwhelmingly likely that Dr. Lecter is aware of Pazzi spying on him and he funs at inspector in his greed to get money for Lecter. We can observe a part of the Palazzo Vecchio on the background and the famous ‘Fontana Di Nettuno” in particular, a sculpture of the God of Sea, architecturally encircled with statues of horses and seamen, which has been occupied the place since the mid-XVI century.
PIAZZA DELLA REPUBBLICA
PAZZI MAKES A PHONE CALL
In the wake that he has identified one among the most wanted criminals, inspector Pazzi pursuits his own thoughts on keeping his pretty young wife close and he decides to take chance to make money on chasing Lecter. Pazzi finds a public telephone to get a piece of desirable information on the procedure. We continue our journey along the ‘Hannibal’ movie locations in Florence with a crossroad to Piazza Della Repubblica (A square of Republic) in the very place to be merged with Via Degli Strozzi, a street with a police station and Pazzi waiting for Lecter. Similar to a scene with a red mailbox, this public telephone has not been preserved until today if at all were.
PIAZZA DELLA SANTISSIMA ANNUNZIATA
PAZZI VISITS LECTER
With a focus on a demand to get a fingerprint of Hannibal Lecter, Inspector Pazzi plays double or nothing and makes his way directly to the ‘hide-out’ of one of the cruelest murders in the whole world. The camera takes out Pazzi on his way across the Piazza Della Santissima Annunziata to enter a building on the right side. The interphone system grants two options: Biblioteca Capponi and Palazzo Capponi. Lecter has stated before that he would be probably granted to manage the library. In fact, we get back to two locations, which have been previously used to depict Lecter’s residence. ‘Istituto Degli Innocenti’ ( ‘Hospital of the Innocents’) as the exterior and indeed Palazzo Capponi as the interior. As a means of disappointing Pazzi, Lecter uses gloves.
PAZZI ON A BRIDGE
In the aftermath of the failed attempt to get Lecter’s fingerprint, the movie depicts inspector Pazzi, absorbed with thoughts in one of the most crowded locations in the whole of Italy. His abstracted pause delayed quiet along to get a cigarette half-ashed. Ponte Vecchio, the oldest preserved and most recognized bridge in Florence, has been a place for merchants of all kinds for the last seven centuries and nowadays jewelry gave a spell to butcher men and casual laborers. Pazzi spends his time beneath the statue of Benvenuto Cellini, an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance era. We can also examine the background to reveal the Arno river and ‘Ponte Santa Trinita’ (Bridge of Saint Trinity). Pazzi buys a wristband within the same Ponte Vecchio.
PIAZZA DI SANTA TRINITA / MERCATO DI SAN LORENZO / MERCATO DEL PORCELLINO
TRYING TO GET A FINGERPRINT
In the coming minutes, the ‘Hannibal’ movie takes us to three separate locations in Florence, distanced from one another by geography, but interconnected by means of movie magic. Pazzi ‘recruits’ a pickpocket criminal Gnocco within the Piazza Santa Trinita square, within a walking distance from Ponte Vecchio. Inexperienced Gnocco failed to stay undetected with Lecter and the doctor makes his stop at a news-stand to prove his six senses. The gallery with columns can be easily identified as the Mercato Di San Lorenzo market, historically divided into open and close parts. San Lorenzo is the main market in Florence and the very site of Lecter walking toward the camera deals a lot with a fish smell nowadays.
The movie takes us back a few blocks to the historical center of Florence. Doctor Lecter crosses a cozy Mercato Del Porcellino or Mercato Nuovo (New Market), surrounded with columns. The doctor catches out Gnocco and the poor one dies in the hands of an inspector who ‘wash hands’ from the blood of his failed companion in the Fontana del Porcellino. This wild boar bronze statue was erected back in 1633 and now is recognized as a city landmark with dozens of tourists wishing to take a photo and to make a wish. The very scene was shot late in the evening.
PAZZI SEES HIS LAST SUNSET
After visiting the Geneva Bank, Pazzi refuses to stay on the sidelines of the upcoming events with Lecter. The sun’s rays find its reflex in the waters of Arno river from the West with a magnificent Ponte Vecchio as the final flourish. A place where the inspector did manage his thoughts on getting Lecter sometime before. This area is now in private ownership, which still is not an obstacle to find the very same perspective as the movie does. Pazzi makes an arrangement with two mercenaries, meant to catch Lecter under the careful supervision of the inspector.
PAZZI GOES THE GALLOWS
We once again satisfy ourselves with a panorama over Piazza Della Signoria and Piazzale Degli Uffizi alley. In the next scene, the camera depicts a poor lighted Salone Dei Cinquecento, a place of the first acquittance of Pazzi and Lecter, a very a few days before. Twice a doctor, Dr. Fell on paper and De. Lecter indeed, the lecturer proclaims the Hanging of Jubilus and makes his lambent parallels with inspector Pazzi, destined to be hanged as well for his treason and to renew the tragedy of own family. While Dr. Lecter is making the last arrangements for the upcoming cruel execution, the camera grabs a few other shots of Piazza Della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. A new perspective reveals the very heart of Florence from the balcony, already meant to become a place of a medieval scene. Pazzi goes the gallows on a balcony with the actual height much more modest that is was depicted in a movie. The movie magic intensifies the moment and the majesty of the place to improve drama. In a few short scenes, Lecter would be caught and we would leave Florence as well as the filming crew did on June 5, 2000.