The Principessa (Die Principessa) | Peter Prange

Rom, 1623.

While people in the streets celebrate their new pope, the young Englishwoman Clarissa, hungry for life and freedom, arrives in the Eternal City. Two master architects court her; she falls for the magic of love and then for the magic of art. Soon, however, she has to realise that love as well as art have a dark side to their medal. And suddenly it all becomes a matter of life and death.

In Rome with its Cardinals and courtesans, Clarissa experiences a world of puzzling contradictions: of misery and glamour, chaos and greatness, liberties and strict morals. Soon she feels under the spell of this fascinating world, where the arts rise to an unprecedented bloom. First and foremost, however, she falls under the spell of two young architects, both like comets on their way up. Because Clarissa’s story is also the story of the most famous architects of their age: Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini. One of them brilliant, worldly and elegant, a favourite with women and with the pope, the other one a pensive introvert, a driven man, striving for perfection. Together they want to build a new Rome. But their love for Clarissa turns the two friends into bitter enemies.


What a wonderful novel! A woman searches for love and discovers art.
Veronica Ferres
This novel is a game. And a fascinating one indeed. Because in Die Principessa Peter Prange cleverly mixes fiction and historical truth. Masterly he manages to combine Rome of the 17th century with her popes and pestilences with the life stories of real people from that age and with a freely invented main character.
Associated Press
Prange knows what readers want: Intrigue and love, pestilence and death, fear and passion, pride and atonement. In all: “excellent”.
It is a magnificently adorned historical picture that Prange conjures up before the eyes of the reader.
In short: I started to read and did not want to put down the book anymore.
Brigitte, Book Supplement

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