In the first novel, "The Silence of the Lambs", by Thomas Harris, the city of Florence was already present in Hannibal Lecter’s prison cell in the Memphis jail in Tennessee as there was a sketch done by Lecter of the Florence skyline, seen from Forte Belvedere.
The writer then came to the city to attend the court trial of Pietro Pacciani, the farmer that was accused of being the Monster of Florence. It was then that Harris was the guest of Count Niccolò Capponi and was able to better explore the city for his film.
Then there’s the Chianti, one of Harris, Scott, Hopkins and Lecter’s favorite places. In the trailer of the 160 million euro blockbuster, Hopkins-Lector says: “I will eat the liver with fava beans, accompanied by an excellent Chianti.”
Hannibal’s Florence, the city in which the second part of the book and film are set, is an obscure and grim place. The book describes Via dei Bardi as a street “among the palazzos built 600 years ago by the richest merchants in Renaissance Florence”. Next to Via dei Bardi is Palazzo Capponi, the home of Hannibal in the film, a building from the 1500s that is frescoed with Muses by Ghirlandaio. First Thomas Harris and the Ridley Scott: both fell in love with this palazzo.
As Hannibal Lecter admires the manuscripts in the palazzo’s library, police commissioner Rinaldo de’ Pazzi, played by Giancarlo Giannini, starts to question Lector’s true intentions. In Palazzo Vecchio he says to the commissioner: “I will eat your delicious wife”. The commissioner’s beautiful wife, Allegra, played by Francesca Neri, succumbs to Lector’s charms in the cloister of Santa Croce, built in the 1300s.
However, Hannibal continues to think of Clarice, the FBI agent, and he buys aromatic products for her at the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, which is described as “one of the most beautifully scented places in the world”, which was first opened as a medicinal plant laboratory by Dominican monks in circa 1220.
While the goldsmith’s along Ponte Vecchio were widely depicted in the film, so was the Porcellino Fountain made by Pietro Tacca in 1612. Then under the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, where the gypsy Enrico Loverso is attacked by Hannibal himself. The blood trail left by Hannibal continues to Via dei Serragli, Piazza Tasso, Via Villani and finally Piazza Bellosguardo: where the cannibal disappears forever.
This is where Hannibal, with the help of Doctor Fell, held conferences on art. He also committed a heinous crime here.
THE CLOISTER OF SANTA CROCE
This is where a musical concert on Dante’s Inferno is held, and where Lector meets Allegra de’ Pazzi, the beautiful wife of Rinaldo.
VIA DE SERRAGLI, PIAZZA TASSO, VIA VILLANI, PIAZZA BELLOSGUARDO
These are the streets through which Hannibal runs after his last murder, and where he disappears from Florence forever.
PIAZZA DELLA SIGNORIA
Next to the Loggia, where Savonarola was burned at the stake, the commissioner Rinaldo de’ Pazzi decides to give Lecter, after having revealed his true identity, his American enemy Mason
SANTA MARIA NOVELLA PHARMACY
This is where Lecter makes his perfumed purchases for Clarice: he buys almond soap at the pharmacy.
The location of the library in which Lecter researches and where he plays for Clarice.
BUILDING OF THE DAILY NEWSPAPER “LA NAZIONE”
The newspaper attacks commissioner de’ Pazzi after Pacciani is absolved of accusations claiming that he was indeed the Monster of Florence.
SANTA CROCE CHURCH
Hannibal studies both the Capponi Chapel and the Pazzi Chapel for his research. Here a gypsy sees the devil in Lecter’s eyes.
This is where commissioner de’ Pazzi buys a bracelet that he will use to try to retrieve Lecter’s fingerprints.
Here, Doctor Lecter stabs the gypsy Enrico Loverso, who tried to snatch his bag. The man’s bloodstains the fountain.