As I’ve noted in previous newsletters, I have used cities that I have visited or lived in for locales in The Medici Warrior Series, so as I wrote about them, I could reference actual places and capture the feel and the history of that place. If you have read the series (and seriously, why not?) you know that Shade was born in Florence, Italy. In the books he lives in a grand estate called Castello that would have been constructed around the 1300’s.

Is Castello real? Well, sort of. Castello, where my vampiric Medici’s lived is fictional, but based on the actual Medici estate called the Pitti Palace. In the books I do reference the actual Medici’s, and the vampires were descendants of the Medici family, but the mortals maintained their distance. The real Medici’s had enough problems staying alive without being associated with vampires!
The Pitti Palace still exists in all its grandiosity and is open to the public as a museum. The Pitti Palace, like the fictional Castello, is also surrounded by the formal gardens. Since I had written this separation of the two “branches” of the Medici family, the mortals and the vampires, I needed a different, yet equally opulent estate for the vampires. They were royalty and the richest family in the duchy of Florence, after all. I used the grand interior of the Pitti Palace, meshed with some other grand estates I had visited in Italy, to create a picture in my head of Castello.
I added the underground elements, where the vampires performed their secret, yet sacred, ceremonies, like Kate’s turning, and the birth of their children, and of course, the warrior camp, where the vampire warriors were trained.

If you have the opportunity to visit Florence, there is literally not a street you can walk down that doesn’t hold the history of the real Medici’s. And if you’d like to get a feel for the imaginary Castello, and the opulence that Shade would have grown up in during the Italian Renaissance, be sure to schedule a visit to the Pitti Palace.