I have come across a problem in my researching the death/tomb of Pope
Alexander VI (p. 1492-1503), and was hoping someone could help me.
All of my many, many books on the Borgias and Popes state that Alexander's
tomb was moved in the early seventeenth century from the Grottoes of St.
Peter's to the Spanish National Church in Rome, Sta. Maria di Monserrato.
However, in rereading one of my rare Boriga texts, "In the Pillory" by John
Bond, European Correspondent for the Fellowship Forum, c. 1927 by The
Fellowship Forum, Bond shows a picture of a tomb proposed to be
Alexander's...that is in the grottoes of St. Peter's. It has a full stone
effigy on the sarcophagus of a pope, which bears a resemblance to the tomb
of my good friend Pope Boniface VIII--and it's only with careful attention
to detail that one can tell they're different...at first glance I thought it
was Boniface's coffin. I have never seen an effigy like this in Panofsky or
Gardner, and the nose looks much to small to be Alexander's *he sported
quite a shnoz*.
However, due to the rapid deterioration, discoloration, and bloating of the
body and face almost immediately after his death, it can be safe to assume
they used a standard death mask,if they used a death mask at all.
The caption under the picture reads, "Tomb of Alexander VI in the Grottoes
of the Vatican, photograph by Alinari".
I have been to the Sta. Maria di Monserrato and saw what I believed to be
his chapel *but my brother just HAD to change the film in the camera just
then, and we got booted out before I could get a picture of it, though I got
a picture of the memorial to both Alexander and his uncle Callistus III,
which is on the opposite side of the church. There was no sarcophagus in the
So...does anyone know if his body lay in the Vatican Grottoes or Sta. Maria
Has anyone been in the grottoes, yet been allowed to wander off the beaten
tourist path and see ALL the tombs, and if so, did you see one of Alexander
VI? Or is anyone planning to go to Rome soon and go to the grottoes who
could tell me if he's there or not?
Any help would be great...this is for my forthcoming book.
Thanks in Advance,