Count Niccolo Capponi


"Walking Tours of Florence are wise and well informed. They have a fresh accessible style which makes it fun. The recipe seems to be the more you enjoy the more you learn. And it works."

Michael Palin

Actor/Presenter (Monty Python and a list of fabulous films too long to list here)

"The Greatest Tour Guide Ever!"

Lou Reed


"...This tour is wonderful, it is informative, complete and fun. And more importantly, you don't feel like a sheep in a flock, herded around town..."

Richard Kind

Actor (Mad about You, Spin City)

"Thank You for the Wonderful Experience!"

Alex Rodriguez

Baseball Star (In December of 2000 Rodriguez became the best-paid ballplayer of all time when he signed a $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers)

"Walking Tours of Florence are much more than tours, because you leave feeling almost as if you know Michelangelo and the other Masters personally."

Mike Munro

One of Australia's finest investigative journalists and well known media personalities.

"Thank you for a wonderful job… you made us feel like we were the most important people in Florence. We all left singing your praises. Thank you very much."

Bill Kurtis

Acclaimed documentary host and producer, network news anchor and multimedia production company.

"Entertaining and Informative!"

Nat Young

World Surfing Champion

"I had the most relaxing and fun experiences with you covering Italian food, wine, art and culture. Thank you for the warm and friendly way in which you welcomed me. I was very impressed by the high professionalism of your staff."

Chi Xun

Director and writer


Count Niccolo Capponi is Europe’s most distinguished and unique historian

He is an erudite PhD scholar-Count that  belongs to an important Florentine noble family which traces its roots to the thirteenth century. His ancestor Ferrante Maria Capponi was given the title of count by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1701, but well before that time the family was politically involved in Renaissance Florence.

The history of the Capponi family reads like a summary of the Renaissance – the family begun with the rise of the Florentine guilds and were initially involved in the silk trade (to this day silk from the Capponi workshops decorates the rooms of the family palace), the family then moved into the wool business, back to silk and then became involved in banking. Banking as we know it today was begun in the Renaissance and the word bank even has its roots in the Italian work banco meaning bench, referring to the benches that banking was conducted on.

Count Niccolò Capponi also carries the title of ‘Florentine Patrician’, a title that very few other people hold today. It was a title that was given to important families who were politically prominent during the time of the Medici.
The Capponi palace dates to the fifteenth century and is one of the most important palazzi in Florence. The palace’s courtyard is the first known example of a Renaissance courtyard. Inside the palace is one of Florence’s most impressive private art collections and the library contains many important manuscripts, among them letters from Dante and numerous popes.

The fame of the palace is justly acquired and it even features in the film Hannibal as the residence of Hannibal Lector. Count Niccolò Capponi can be seen in the film playing a historian, a role he is ideally suited for as he holds a PhD in history from the University of Padua. He specializes in military history and he has published extensively in Italian as well as in English. His most recent book, the Victory of the West is a vivid account of one of the most decisive military encounters in history, the battle of Lepanto. Amazingly his ancestors fought on both sides in this heroic feat.

A prolific writer, Niccolò Capponi is the author of four books and numerous articles. His most recent book, Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto (2007), is a vivid account of one of the most decisive military encounters in his-tory. Niccolò has also appeared on a number of television documentaries, including the celebrated PBS The Power of the Past with Bill Moyers. His latest appearance in the History Chanel's The Medici Murder, dealing with the "Pazzi Conspiracy" against Lorenzo de' Medici, received international acclaim. Niccolò's next book will be arriving in June 2010.

The most engaging conversationalist, who seems to know every bit of local history, Count Capponi maintains the traditions of his past while imbuing them with charm and grace. While quintessentially Florentine, he remains a truly Renaissance man.

Count Niccolo Capponi's next book is arriving June 2010 

See information about "An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Niccolo Machiavelli" below, you will be able to get signed copies directly from him at the Artviva Festival Evenings

Book here now to reserve your space for the Artviva Festival Evenings.

The below information regarding Count Niccolo Capponi's next book is from Amazon:

An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Niccolo Machiavelli

In this compelling new biography, historian Niccolò Capponi frees Machiavelli (1469–1527) from centuries of misinterpretation. Exploring the Renaissance city of Florence, where Machiavelli lived, Capponi reveals the man behind the legend. A complex portrait of Machiavelli emerges—at once a brilliantly skillful diplomat and a woefully inept liar; a sharp thinker and an impractical dreamer; a hardnosed powerbroker and a risk-taking gambler; a calculating propagandist and an imprudent jokester.

Capponi’s intimate portrait of Machiavelli reveals his behavior as utterly un-Machiavellian, his vision of the world as limited by his very provincial outlook. In the end, Machiavelli was frustrated by his own political failures and utterly baffled by the success of his book The Prince.

About the Author
Niccolò Capponi is the author of the highly acclaimed Victory of the West and former fellow of the Medici Project. A direct descendant of Machiavelli, he lives in Florence, Italy.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Capponi, a highly regarded Italian Renaissance scholar with a focus on military history lives up to his reputation in his first major U.S. publication. The battle of Lepanto, fought in 1571, was both one of history's significant naval engagements and a watershed in the long war between Christians and Muslims. To pierce its penumbra of myths and legends, Capponi returns to the original archival and printed sources to construct this fresh, multilayered analysis. On one level Lepanto was a victory for the Western technology that would decide so many battles in the next four centuries. The Christian fleet made better use of gunpowder weapons and had a trump card in their galleasses—galleys converted into gunships, whose heavy artillery allowed Christian seamen to prevent the Ottomans from utilizing their superiority in boarding tactics. Lepanto was also a psychological victory: a ramshackle alliance of Christian states thrashed an Ottoman Empire at the peak of its power and confidence, preventing the Ottomans from dominating the Mediterranean as before. The unexpected outcome sharpened the still-enduring struggle between Christianity and Islam, making it correspondingly difficult for the Muslim world to accept the West taking an increasing lead in military, scientific and economic matters. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
By the middle of the sixteenth century, Islam, under the banner of the Ottoman Turks, was ascendant in North Africa, Asia Minor, and most of the eastern Mediterranean. With their powerful navy as a springboard, the Turks were poised to advance further west. On October 7, 1571, the Ottoman fleet met a combined Christian fleet called the Holy League off the coast of mainland Greece. The daylong battle resulted in an overwhelming defeat of the Ottomans, the first significant defeat of Ottoman forces by Europeans, which shattered the aura of invincibility that had surrounded them. Some historians have suggested the event was the beginning of the long decline that led to the Ottoman Empire being designated as the "sick man of Europe." Capponi, a military and Renaissance historian, tells about this seminal battle with great attention to detail as well as superb insight into the cultural differences between the adversaries. He makes effective use of primary sources, including Miguel de Cervantes, who was wounded in the battle; the result is an absorbing and even thrilling account. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"Illuminating reading for students of early modern European history." -- Kirkus Reviews, 2/1/07

Product Description
A vivid new account of one of the most decisive military encounters in history--the Battle of Lepanto.
On the morning of October 7, 1571, in the Gulf of Lepanto on the Ionian Sea, the vast and heavily-manned fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League clashed in one of the most significant battles in history. By four o'clock that afternoon the sea was red with blood. It was a victory of the west--the first major victory of Europeans against the Ottoman Empire.

In this compelling piece of narrative history, Niccolo Capponi describes the clash of cultures that led to this crucial confrontation and takes a fresh look at the bloody struggle at sea between oared fighting galleys and determined men of faith. As a description of the age-old conflict between Christianity and Islam, it is a story that resonates today.

About the Author
Niccolo Capponi is an eminent military and Renaissance historian. He is a fellow at the Medici Archive Project, and curator of the Capponi Archive. He lives in Florence, Italy.