Study Guide

The Leopard

The Leopard Summary

The royal House of Salina is one of the most important families in… well… the country doesn't really exist anymore. And why doesn't it, you ask? Well that's what The Leopard is going to help us find out.

The novel's main character is Prince Fabrizio di Salina, a huge, quick-tempered guy who knows that his family will soon lose all of its prestige and wealth. He takes a walk around his house and remembers seeing a dead soldier in his garden a little while earlier. The death seems pretty meaningless to him, but everybody already knows that there's no way Sicily is going to fight off the invading forces from Italy. To get his mind off the troubles, Fabrizio hits the town of Palermo to visit his mistress and have a general good time.

After some Italian soldiers land in Sicily, the Salinas hightail it out of town and go stay at their country home in Donnafugata. While they're hanging out there, Fabrizio's nephew Tancredi falls in love with the local mayor's daughter, Angelica. This devastates Fabrizio's daughter Concetta, who's also in love with Tancredi. Tancredi and Angelica become engaged. Meanwhile, Italian troops take over Sicily and hold a rigged public vote to show that everyone in the town wants to join Italy.

Later in the book, Lampedusa gives us every sexy detail about the young romance between Tancredi and Angelica. The two of them like to wander through all the secret rooms of the Salinas' old house and make out whenever possible. But as far as we know, they never give into their sexual urges before getting married. In a different part of the house, a foreign minister shows up and asks Prince Fabrizio if he'd like to become a senator in the new United Kingdom of Italy. Fabrizio's not interested though because the job would actually require him to do some work for his money.

Lampedusa is a big fan of side plots, which he shows us when the Salinas' family friend, Father Pirrone, leaves the Salinas to visit his home village. While there, he has to find a way to get his nephew to marry his niece because the niece is pregnant with the nephew's child (yeah, they didn't really cringe at kissing cousins back then). Once he's done that, he returns to the Salinas. Later on, the Salinas attend a ball at the house of one of their aristocratic buddies so they can talk about all the latest monocles and top hats. It's here that Angelica is first presented as Tancredi's bride-to-be. Everyone goes nuts over how gorgeous she is. But Prince Fabrizio can only think about how old he's getting and how little he'll leave behind when he dies.

The book flashes forward sixteen years to when Prince Fabrizio is dying of old age. He's every bit as gloomy. But in his final moments, he sees a beautiful, angelic woman standing near his bed, and he knows that death will bring him a sense of peace that life never could. Once he's gone, the book switches to his daughters, who are all past seventy. The final chapter of the book shows a religious official visiting their home and throwing out a bunch of old relics and artifacts from their personal chapel. The book ends with Fabrizio's daughter Concetta looking out her window and thinking she sees a leopard (the Salina family symbol). But it's only an old stuffed dog being thrown into the garbage. How's that for some crushing symbolism?

  • Chapter 1

    • A royal family (The House of Salina) finishes reciting their daily rosary, ending with the final line of the Hail Mary prayer, which is "Now and at the hour of our death." So yeah, things stat out pretty gloomy. The Prince's daughters aren't allowed outside because there have been riots in the area.
    • The book gives us a description of the Prince Fabrizio , a huge man who you really don't want to annoy. Despite his size and strength, though, the guy also has a lot of brains. He's even an amateur mathematician and astronomer. Nerd alert! (Disclaimer: We at Shmoop love to nerd out. Nerd pride!)
    • The Prince walks down into his garden while he's waiting for dinner to be served and takes a moment to smell all the flowers. While sniffing, he thinks about how his family will soon die off and lose everything. We're not really clear why yet. Prince Fabby Fab also remembers when he found a young Sicilian soldier dead in this same garden and wonders if there was any point to the young man's death.
    • Across the garden, The Prince's giant Great Dane named Bendicò digs up a flowerbed (he's kind of like a Sicilian Marmaduke) For some reason, this makes the Prince reminisce about the many times he's gone to visit Ferdinand II, King of The Kingdom of Two Sicilies. Now that country might not sound familiar, and that's because it doesn't exist anymore. It's actually part of Italy today, and this book is all about how that came to be. So stay tuned…
    • Back to the story, where Prince Fabrizio remembers going to see Ferdinand II. If you want a visual, here's what Ferdinand II looked like.
    • The two make some small talk about how Fabrizio's family is doing. They're all spoiled and rich. But the King warns Fabrizio to talk some sense into his nephew, Tancredi. Tancredi is apparently working with the armies that are trying to take over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
    • When they're done talking, Fabrizio leaves and wonders what'll happen when the Kingdom of Two Sicilies collapses and he loses his status as a royal Prince.
    • Now we shoot back into the present, where the Prince pets his dog Bendicò for doing such a good job of digging up his flowerbed. He hears the dinner bell and heads inside.
    • When dinner gets served, the Prince's whole family can tell that the he's in a foul mood. The Princess touches the Prince's hand as a sign of support, but he's a proud dude who can't stand being pitied. He decides that the only way to get his revenge for this pity is to visit one of his mistresses in town. As you can imagine, his wife doesn't take the news so well.
    • Driving into town, Fabrizio thinks about his nephew Tancredi, whose family home is in ruins near his own. Tancredi hangs with a bunch of "low" people, who includes gamblers and revolutionaries, and Prince Fabrizio worries about his safety.
    • From the other side of the carriage, Father Pirrone talks about the dark times that are coming for Sicily. He's afraid of the country joining Italy because he knows that the more democracy takes hold, the less power his church will have. He points to the nearby mountains where a bunch of people are having bonfires. These fires belong to the rebels who are planning on taking over the country and uniting it with the kingdom from the north. (If only Pirrone could find a way to cut off their hotdog and marshmallow supplies, their rebel bonfires would be ruined).
    • The carriage gets stopped by a patrol that's on the lookout for rebels. They quickly recognize their mistake and send the Prince on his way.
    • The Prince and Father Pirrone get into town, where Pirrone goes to visit some of his priest friends while Fabrizio goes to meet with his mistress, Mariannina. He talks himself into doing it by saying that he's actually protecting himself from greater sin by taking care of his sexual urges. In other words, he thinks he needs an outlet or he'll explode.
    • Two hours later, the Prince hops back into his carriage with Father Pirrone and heads back to his mansion. Now he feels guilty for cheating on his wife. For some reason, he decides that the best way to deal with this guilt is to have sex with his wife when he gets home.
    • The next morning, Fabrizio comes downstairs and finds that his nephew Tancredi is visiting. The young man has heard about the Fabrizio's trip to Palermo to see a mistress and decides to tease him about it.
    • Fabrizio sees that Tancredi is dressed for shooting and learns that Tancredi is off to fight in some battle between the rebels (Tancredi's side) and the local troops. Fabrizio worries for him, but Tancredi tells him that if they want things to stay good, they'll have to adapt to the changing world.
    • The Prince realizes that he cares about Tancredi more than his own son and gives the young man some gold coins before he leaves. As of this moment, Prince Fabrizio has given funding to the same revolution that's going to throw him out of power.
    • Hoping to take his mind off things, the Prince goes into his office and reads a number of the latest astronomy journals.
    • The Prince's accountant barges in and starts talking money. The Prince realizes that this is the kind of guy who's eventually going to replace him on the social ladder, the kind of guy who thinks about nothing but money all day and does whatever it takes to get more of it.
    • Another one of the Prince's men enters and assures the Prince that once the rebels reach the town, they won't do any harm to the Prince or his family. The Prince sends his men away and asks them to make sure that if fighting happens, it doesn't come anywhere near his daughters.
    • The Prince heads up to his astronomy lab and finds Father Pirrone hanging out there. The priest asks him whether he'd like to confess any sins (like committing adultery the night before). But the Prince says nah.
    • Pirrone again brings up the question of what will happen to the church's power once the new Kingdom of Italy gets formed. The Prince couldn't really care less, but says that the church will be just fine. It's aristocrats like himself who will take the biggest hit.
    • The Prince and Father Pirrone work on some stuff that they plan on sending away for publication at another observatory. Prince and priest by day, rogue astronomers by night—they're quite the dangerous duo
    • When the lunch bell rings, Prince Fab and Father Pirrone head downstairs and dive into some rum jelly, which puts the Prince in a good mood.
    • After lunch, a couple of local farmers show up with some meat and crops to supply the house. The Prince has to scold them, though, for dragging dead, bloody animals through his house for his young daughters to see.
    • When he goes back upstairs to his office, the Prince finds his son Paolo waiting for him. Paolo criticizes his cousin Tancredi for joining the rebels and insists that the family stop being nice to him. The Prince tells his son to buzz off and takes a nap once he's gone.
    • When he wakes up, the Prince gets a letter from his brother-in-law saying that the Italian armies from the north have landed in Sicily and are making short work of the local troops. The brother-in-law plans on leaving the country in a British boat and advises Fabrizio to do the same. Fabrizio thinks he's overreacting, though, so he joins his family to say their afternoon prayers and doesn't say a word about the invading armies.
  • Chapter 2

    • Now that invading Italian soldiers are taking over Sicily, the Prince and his family decide to hightail it out of Palermo and stay in their country home in Donnafugata (not a real place, btw). They don't feel all that threatened, though, because the invading soldiers have already paid a visit and said that they're not going to threaten the Prince's family in any way.
    • One day, the general of the invading armies visits the family with Tancredi at his side. It looks like Tancredi has made quite a name for himself in the revolutionary army.
    • The Prince asks the general for a favor. All of the Jesuit priests are being expelled from Sicily, but the Prince wants his old buddy Father Pirrone could stay with the family. The general hems and haws about it, but eventually makes it happen.
    • After a tough three-day trip, the family reaches its country estate in Donnafugata. There's a big group of people waiting to greet them when they arrive. Everyone's impressed at how much Tancredi has changed since they last saw him. He used to be a weird kid, but now he seems like a refined young man.
    • The group heads to the cathedral to hear some music. Afterwards, the Princess invites a few of the local big wigs to come over for dinner that night.
    • The mayor agrees to come, but is sorry to say that his wife can't. Rumor has it that no one ever sees the mayor's wife because she's a beautiful woman with absolutely no brain. In other words, the mayor married her for her looks and feels embarrassed by her personality in public.
    • After the music concert, the Salina family splits off in different directions. The Prince takes a walk with the man who's been taking care of his country home and thanks him for his good work and loyalty. They stop to chat over tea, where the man tells the Prince that the local mayor, Don Calogero Sedàra, is soon going to be the richest man in town. Calogero doesn't have any fancy manners like the Prince, but he knows how to get money. Fabrizio knows deep down that this will be the kind of guy who succeeds in the future.
    • The Prince decides to take a bath and wash the day's dirt off. While he's in the bath, Father Pirrone comes rushing in before the Prince has time to get a towel on. Can you say awkward?
    • After he gets his bearings, Pirrone tells the Prince that his daughter Concetta has recently confessed that she is in love. It makes the Prince feel old to think that his children are old enough to fall in love, and he hopes Concetta won't ruin the family's vacation with crazy drama.
    • Here's what the situation boils down to: Concetta wants her father's permission to say yes in case Tancredi proposes to her one of these days. The Prince tells Pirrone they'll wait and see, then goes down into the garden. While he's there, he stares at a fountain with a sculpture of Neptune and Amphitrite having sex. Yup, sex statues in the garden. Oh well. That's classier than, say, velvet paintings of dogs playing poker.
    • Tancredi shows up and teases the Prince for staring at the statue. With no segue at all, Prince Fabrizio takes him to check out some fresh peaches that are growing on a nearby tree. The Prince says the peaches aren't ready, which is a shame, since he'd love to serve them to his guests that night. Oh well.
    • Later on, the Prince sits down at the dinner table and waits for his guests. His son Paolo runs up the stairs and announces that the mayor is coming "in tails," meaning that's he's wearing a fancy tuxedo coat with strips of fabric hanging down the back. The Prince is shocked by this, because only the best of the best are supposed to wear tails, and as far as Fabrizio is concerned, the mayor is still a nobody. It doesn't take him long to realize that this is a sign of Italy's future, which will be ruled by greedy, moneymaking men like the mayor.
    • Fabrizio gets to relax a little after he sees what a hatchet job that mayor's coat is. He comforts himself with the thought that no matter how much money the mayor has, he'll never have the style of an aristocrat.
    • While Fabrizio is reveling in the mayor's terrible coat, the mayor's daughter Angelica enters the room. Wham! Everyone is totally stunned by how beautiful she is, especially Fabrizio and Tancredi. The Prince jumps forward to welcome her and to say he hopes he'll be seeing a lot of her in the days to come. We wish we could hand him a towel to wipe away the drool.
    • The butler announces that dinner is ready and everyone heads into the dining room. The dinner is so good that half the people there forget about good manners and totally go to town on the meal.
    • Concetta senses almost immediately that her love, Tancredi, is looking at Angelica more than her. She feels like she's already lost him.
    • The mayor makes small talk about a man named Garibaldi who's led the invasion of The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It seems like the unification of Italy is a moot point. The Prince's response is still a solid "meh."
    • Tancredi tells everyone a story about him and his army buddies going into a convent to look for enemy soldiers. He laughs at how the old nuns thought they were going to be sexually assaulted.
    • The story is totally inappropriate, but Angelica laughs. Concetta scolds Tancredi for being rude, which doesn't really earn her any points with him. Besides, we all know what's really making her mad.
    • Before bed, Prince Fabrizio goes out on his balcony and looks at the stars. He feels his soul reaching toward them, wishing for something he doesn't have and probably never will. We have no clue what it is, and it sounds like he doesn't either.
    • The dog Bendicò comes running in and rubs against his knee. Fabrizio envies the dog for never having to stress about petty human things.
    • Tradition says that the day after arriving in Donnafugata, the Salina family has to visit a holy convent in the town. Fabrizio's the only man allowed to go inside because his ancestor founded the place. Tancredi wants to go in too, but the Prince says no way.
    • Back at the palace, the Prince goes onto his balcony and looks out on the town. He spies Tancredi in the distance sneaking toward the mayor's house with a servant carrying a box of the Prince's peaches. The same peaches that Fabrizio said weren't ready yet. Grrrrrr. They must be a present for the mayor's daughter, Angelica.
  • Chapter 3

    • During his stay at Donnafugata, Prince Fabrizio goes out shooting for wild game with his buddy and loyal neighbor, Ciccio Tumeo. Tancredi's left Donnafugata to help his Italian buddies take over The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Once Fabrizio has a little time to stew, he gets nervous about his family's situation. He feels more and more like a dude in a book about history (psst, no one tell him that that's what he is).
    • Tancredi writes to Fabrizio often, declaring that he's in love with Angelica and that he'd like to marry her. It doesn't hurt that Angelica comes from a rich family and Tancredi is really poor, even though his uncle Fabrizio has always looked out for him.
    • Fabrizio does a huge face-palm because he doesn't want to go to Calogero on Tancredi's behalf to ask for Angelica's hand in marriage. He feels humiliated to be asking a favor from someone who's still a commoner.
    • He tells his wife about Tancredi's interest in Angelica. She's still mad that Tancredi won't be marrying their daughter Concetta. Now Tancredi is a double traitor in her eyes, in both the military sense and the romantic.
    • The Prince is pretty accepting about the whole thing. He knows that he and his wife can't stop what's happening. This is just the way the winds are blowing.
    • The Prince goes shooting again with his buddy Ciccio Tumeo. They talk for a moment about the recent "Plebiscite for the Unification of Italy." Basically, the invading armies are taking a vote from the people of Sicily to see if they want to join a united Italy. It's really just an empty gesture, since everyone knows that the joining is going to happen either way.
    • To make conversation, Fabrizio asks Ciccio how he'll vote. The guy doesn't quite know how to answer because he's afraid the Prince will be angry if he says yes. The Prince calms him by saying that he should probably vote yes. After all, Fabrizio doesn't really have any spirit for defending himself or the aristocracy. Plus he also doesn't want any of his buds to get into trouble for voting "no."
    • The next day, the Prince goes to vote in the Plebiscite. He votes "yes" to join Italy and to effectively end his family's claim to royalty. He notices when handing in his vote that the town hall has already hung up a picture of Garibaldi, leader of the invading forces, and Victor Emmanuel, who will soon be the first King of United Italy.
    • Later that night, Don Calogero (mayor) marches out of Town Hall and declares that 515 people voted "yes" to join Italy and 0 voted "no."
    • Fabrizio's friend Ciccio loses it because he voted "no" and he knows that the authorities have rigged the vote. It's especially insulting because everyone knows that the vote was going to be in favor of joining Italy either way. The fact that they lied and made it unanimous just shows how the whole Plebiscite was a hollow sham. What's that? Dishonesty in politics, you say? Gasp!
    • The Prince asks Ciccio what he thinks of the mayor, Don Calogero. Ciccio calls Calogero "the new man," meaning that he's a ruthless capitalist who will do anything to become richer. Ciccio considers this money-hungry attitude a "low" way of thinking and insults Calogero's wife by saying she's a trophy wife, "Good for bed, and that's all" (3.46).
    • Now that he's got a loose tongue, Ciccio goes on to talk about how hot he thinks Angelica is and imagines out loud what her bed sheets smell like. The Prince is offended by this. He tells Ciccio to watch what he says because Angelica might soon become his (the Prince's) niece through marriage to Tancredi.
    • Instead of apologizing, Ciccio criticizes the marriage because he thinks Angelica is beneath Tancredi. The Prince feels like punching the dude, but doesn't. They get up and head back to the house.
    • Later that day, Don Calogero shows up at the Prince's house. He's come to discuss the state of things between Tancredi and his daughter Angelica. The Prince says that as far as he knows, Tancredi is madly in love with her, which makes the mayor happy.
    • The Prince walks across the room and hugs Calogero right off the ground. Then he fills the guy in on the long and proud aristocratic tradition that Tancredi comes from. He hopes that the mayor will appreciate this, though it's not clear if the guy cares. Fabrizio also mentions that Tancredi won't bring much money to the marriage.
    • The mayor surprises Fab by answering that as long as Angelica and Tancredi love one another, he is happy. He also promises to give everything he has to Tancredi and Angelica. In his mind, love is all that matters, which is strange for a guy who's spent his whole life getting money.
    • As a gesture to Prince Fab, Calogero also claims the he can produce papers showing that Angelica is originally descended from aristocratic blood, even though their family has been poor for some time.
    • The Prince goes down to let his buddy Ciccio out of the gunroom. He's forced Ciccio to stay there so that the guy wouldn't give away the secret of Tancredi's marriage before the Prince had a chance to confirm things with Don Calogero. With that settled, he goes to tell his wife that there's going to be a wedding. She's not over the moon about this.
  • Chapter 4

    • As the wedding day approaches, Fabrizio finds more reasons to like Calogero. He likes how the guy just plows through life with no regard for all the superficial mannerisms that aristocrats care so much about.
    • The Prince even asks for Don Calogero's advice for how to treat the people working for him. Calogero is ruthless in the way he does business. The narrator tells us that in the coming years, Fabrizio will get a reputation for being a hard and cruel boss under Calogero's influence.
    • For the first time, Angelica visits the Salina family as a bride-to-be. The Prince hugs her when she arrives and lingers a little too long for comfort. She nervously laughs it off. Heh heh.
    • The family gathers around and Princess Stella starts telling funny and embarrassing stories from Tancredi's childhood. Prince Fabrizio interrupts to talk about what a wonderful man Tancredi has grown into. He tells Angelica will never be bored with someone like Tancredi in her life.
    • Meanwhile, Angelica only cares about how good Tancredi will be in bed once they're married.
    • That evening, the Prince reads to his family from a novel, though he makes sure never to include anything smutty.
    • Tancredi returns from his military trip and the whole family gathers to greet him. Turns out that Tancredi has brought a buddy named Count Carlo Cavriaghi. The buddy wants to go visit the Calogero house, but the Prince wants to protect Don Calogero from having to show his wife to the young men, so he insists that it's raining too hard for the young men to venture out.
    • Tancredi and Cavriaghi have transferred from the rebel forces into King Victor Emmanuel's official Italian army, even though this has caused them to lose their ranks. They're working their way up the ladder all over again and they're happy to do it.
    • Cavriaghi starts flirting with Concetta, but she's not interested. While Cavriaghi reads some poetry to the group, Tancredi shows his uncle Fabrizio the ring he's going to give Angelica. Soon afterward, Tancredi rushes across the room, kisses Angelica on the mouth and puts the ring on her finger. The family is so charmed that they postpone their return to the city of Palermo for two more weeks.
    • As the days pass, Tancredi and Angelica visit many of the different parts of the Prince's house. But even though they're alone together a lot, they don't give in to their sexual urges. Meanwhile, Cavriaghi keeps fighting a losing battle to win Concetta's heart.
    • One day while wandering around, Tancredi and Angelica stumble on to a series of rooms filled with medicine jars and whips. It might be some sort of sex dungeon for all we know. Tancredi gets scared and tells Angelica to leave with him.
    • The next day, they find another room with a whip. But this whip was used by an old religious ancestor who would whip himself as punishment for his own sins. Yeesh.
    • As Tancredi and Angelica wander through the house, the narrator's descriptions of their conversation gets really sexual. It seems, though, that they take more pleasure from resisting their urges than they do indulging them.
    • When Tancredi and Angelica come back from their wanderings one day, Cavriaghi tells Tancredi to watch himself and not give in to his temptations too much.
    • Meanwhile, Concetta keeps turning away Cavriaghi's advances, even though her two sisters swoon whenever he's around. Concetta feels bad for the sisters because she knows their pride and shyness will probably keep them from ever finding anyone. Little do we know how true this will turn out to be…
    • One day, Prince Fabrizio receives a letter from the new Italian government saying that an guy named the Chevalley di Monterzuolo is coming to speak to him about something important.
    • The Prince insists on having Chevalley stay at the royal palace. When Chevalley gets there, he's really standoffish because he comes from a modest family and is intimidated by the wealth of the Salinas. But once he sees that they mean well, he finds his confidence.
    • The next day, Tancredi and Cavriaghi take Chevalley around Donnafugata and let him in on some of the local legends. Some of the legends are really violent and they scare Chevalley. But he reassures himself by thinking that the boys are just pulling his leg. Tancredi hears the trembling in his voice and decides to lay off on some of the town's most gruesome stories (which are all true, btw).
    • That afternoon, the Prince meets with Chevalley in his office. Chevalley gets to the point and says he'd like for the Prince to take the role of Senator for his part of Sicily. It's a good fit, since the Prince has cooperated with the transition of power and is still a highly respected man.
    • The Prince refuses, though. It's nothing personal, but he feels like his time is over and that Italy would be better off getting someone scrappy like the mayor, Calogero.
    • Chevalley doesn't understand, so Fabrizio gives him a crash course in the mentality of people from Sicily. Basically, he says that the people from Sicily are lazy and worn out. The summers are too long and hot. Besides, Sicilians don't like being told to improve because they already think they're perfect.
    • Chevalley tries to change Fab's mind, but the Prince won't listen. He's made peace with the fact that his days of power are over and that his family is going to fall. Chevalley leaves the next day and Fabrizio goes out hunting with Ciccio as if nothing has happened.
  • Chapter 5

    • Remember Father Pirrone? Well this chapter might as well be a side plot entitled, "The Totally Unrelated Adventures of Father Pirrone" because they don't have much to do with the rest of the book.
    • Father Pirrone leaves the Salinas to travel to his home village of San Cono. Once there, he hugs his mother and catches up on recent news. He's immediately transported back to his youth when he looks around his old house. Some old friends come over for dinner and he chats with them, finding that they haven't changed much.
    • One friend stays later than the others and asks Pirrone what Prince Fabrizio thinks of all the changes that have been going on in Sicily. Pirrone gives him a way more philosophical answer than he'd bargained for, one that delves into the mentality of Sicilian aristocrats (like Fabrizio's speech to Chevalley did in the previous chapter). Pirrone talks especially about how aristocrats take certain small things very seriously because they don't have any real problems to worry about.
    • Father Pirrone notices that his neighbor has fallen asleep during his speech, but he keeps talking because he feels like he needs to get things off his chest. He goes on about the generosity of the Salinas, which comes directly from the fact that they've never had to worry about money.
    • Eventually, Pirrone's mother comes in and tells him that his friend is asleep. Pirrone wakes him and walks him home.
    • The next day, Pirrone finds his sister Sarina crying in the kitchen. And it's not just because she's chopping onions. Turns out that she has an adolescent daughter named Angelina who has become pregnant with the child of her teenage lover. Sarina's husband is a notorious hothead, and Sarina is terrified that he'll murder their daughter out of honor if he finds out about the pregnancy. We're not sure how that counts as honor, but it seems to make sense to everyone in the book.
    • And here's the worst part of Angelina's story: the father of the child is Angelina's cousin, Santino. This story goes wayyyy back to Father Pirrone's father's generation. It turns out that that Sarina and Father Pirrone's family have a major beef with their uncle's side of the family because of some old property that went to one son and not another way back in the day. Sarina is convinced that Santino Pirrone got her daughter Angelina pregnant out of spite in order to ruin her. His father Turi (Father Pirrone's uncle) was probably the guy who put him up to it, because he's never gotten over losing his inheritance to Father Pirrone's dad. Although it's hard to imagine an old man ordering his son to go get his cousin pregnant, land or not.
    • Father Pirrone insists that Turi will force Santino to marry Angelina if they give him his half of the family inheritance as a dowry. Sarina doesn't want to, but she knows she has no choice.
    • Pirrone pays a visit to Turi and congratulates him on his son's engagement to Angelina. Turi calls his son into the house and yells at him, since he's heard nothing about any engagement. Neither has his son, apparently. Now we're really seeing Pirrone's sneaky side.
    • When Pirrone reveals that Turi is going to get his inheritance as part of the arrangement, Turi orders his son to go through with the marriage just as planned.
    • Pirrone gets back to his house and finds his brother-in-law Vincenzino (Angelina's father) home from a trip. He tells the man about the marriage. The guy is angry about losing half his land in the dowry, but Pirrone promises to hand over his own inheritance to help offset the cost. The tactic works, and two days later, Pirrone returns to Palermo knowing that he's saved his niece.
  • Chapter 6

    • The Salinas are getting ready for a ball at the houses of one of their aristocratic friends. They even show up early to make sure they're there before the Calogeros, who aren't used to balls and who will probably show up at the exact time listed on the invitation. Apparently, commoners don't understand the concept of being fashionably late.
    • When Don Calogero arrives, Fabrizio is happy to see that he's looking a little finer than usual. It's probably the Prince rubbing off on him. Meanwhile, the young men at the party all wish that they were marrying Angelica instead of Tancredi. Angelina shows the very best of manners and makes a big splash on the social scene.
    • On the other side of the ballroom, Prince Fabrizio looks around and feels kind of depressed. He sees a bunch of women who used to be his mistresses, and he's sad to find how old and saggy they've become. It's not like he's a spring chicken anymore, either. He goes to sit with some men, but feels like an outsider among them because he's interested in math and astronomy. He quickly gets bored and goes off to be alone, wishing he were at home looking out at the stars.
    • He glances in on the ballroom dancing. Calogero sidles up next to him and talks about how much everything in the room must cost. Fabrizio suddenly dislikes the guy for judging everything according to its dollar value. He forces himself to be cheery though and talks about what a beautiful couple Tancredi and Angelica are.
    • Minutes later, he hears Calogero talking with another man about the price of cheese and basically says "Alright, I'm done" and walks away. He heads to the library to be alone again.
    • Tancredi walks in with Angelica. Sensing the Prince's depression, Angelica asks him to come dance with her. Fabrizio agrees, and when they dance, the whole room stops and everyone watches them. Fabrizio catches himself feeling a sexual attraction to her.
    • All Angelica can talk about is how happy she is. This is bittersweet to Fabrizio, who envies her youth and feels old when he's next to her and Tancredi. For just a moment, though, he forgets that he'll ever have to die.
    • When they're done, Angelica invites him to have dinner at her and Tancredi's table, but he politely refuses and leaves them to their happiness.
    • He wanders around for a while more, taking in all the sensual pleasures of the rooms. Then he sits down at a table with some other men. A Colonel who fought for The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies talks about how ridiculous it is that he might go to jail for fighting the Italian armies. He was only following orders, and if he'd had it his way, he would have let them into the country with no resistance.
    • The colonel describes wounding the foreign general (and hero) Garibaldi in the foot. He says the guy is human just like anyone else, and not the immortal god he's cracked up to be. The guy also mentions how unification isn't going so well on the mainland of Italy. Different cities want to be the capital and all of them have different priorities. The Prince needs to stop himself from yawning.
    • Finally, at six in the morning, the Salinas settle back into their carriage to go home. On their way, Fabrizio gazes up at the stars and wishes that all of life's joys weren't so fleeting. You might be beginning to wonder just what it would take to make this guy happy.
  • Chapter 7

    • Sixteen years have passed since the last chapter, which means Prince Fabrizio has gone from being middle-aged to an old man. The only thing we know about these past sixteen years is that the Prince has spent most of them feeling depressed about his life slipping away. He knows he'll die soon and he's sad to see that his family's prestige has died with him. Although it's not like he's done anything to stop it.
    • Prince Fab goes to see a doctor with his daughter Concetta (now forty years old) and his grandson Fabrizietto. He returns home by train and faints on the way. The next time he looks at himself in the mirror, he can see death on his face. It's around this time that we learn how his son Paolo has already died in an accident. Father Pirrone has passed away, too. But hey, that's life (or death).
    • The Prince hears his daughters speaking in the next room, saying that they want to call a priest to administer his last rites. Now he knows he's a goner. Tancredi comes into the bedroom and Fabrizio squeezes his hand without saying anything.
    • Fabrizio reminisces about all the pets he's had in his life, especially his dogs. He's had several since Bendicò died. While thinking, he realizes at once that he's seventy-three years old, but he's only done two or three years of living at the most.
    • In his final moments, the Prince's family gathers around his bed. Among them he sees a woman he recognizes, someone young. It's Venus, the woman from the stars whom he's been fantasizing about for sixteen years. It's looks like in his moment of death, he's finally able to grasp what he's always longed for, which is peace and quiet.
  • Chapter 8

    • We're all the way into the twentieth century now (1910 to be exact), and it's been twenty-two years since Prince Fabrizio passed away. None of Fabrizio's three daughters have ever married, and now they're three old women living together in the old family house.
    • A local religious official visits the house to inspect some of the religious objects in it. Mass is still delivered at the Salina family chapel, but the church is worried that some of the relics in the chapel are inappropriate. This totally offends the pride of the Salina women, but they let the guy in anyway.
    • On his first visit, the official praises everything he finds in the chapel that the sisters have built.
    • Once he's away, though, he tells his assistant that there's no way the images and relics in the church are decent. They'll have to get rid of most of them if mass is going to continue being delivered in the sisters' chapel.
    • The sisters get word that their cousin Angelica, "The Princess," is arriving at the house. Like the sisters, Angelica is now seventy years old. Her husband Tancredi has died in the past few years (again, this is mentioned casually). The women discuss some details about an upcoming war memorial ceremony for Tancredi's lifetime of service.
    • An Italian senator shows up at the house as a guest and tells Concetta how much Tancredi used to talk about her. Concetta is flattered, especially since Tancredi left her for Angelica way back in the day.
    • When she hears about Tancredi praising her, Concetta feels as if she's wasted her life by feeling too proud of who she is. The same goes for her sisters. Now the three of them are all alone, with nothing but the memories of their royal heritage.
    • When Angelica and the senator leave, the senator asks whether he did anything to offend Concetta. Angelica tells him that Concetta used to be in love with Tancredi, and that she no doubt got sad at hearing how much he used to talk about her.
    • A few days later, the local Cardinal of the Catholic Church shows up and takes away a bunch of religious artifacts from the sisters' chapel. He says he's going to have them analyzed before deciding whether they belong in the chapel.
    • Out of the dozens of relics, only five are deemed authentic and acceptable by the Cardinal. He advises the sisters to throw out the rest.
    • Concetta doesn't know what to think, feeling like her family history is entirely behind her and that there's no future for her or her sisters, since none of them have had children.
    • She looks at Bendicò across the room. No, don't worry. The dog hasn't lived to be fifty years old. The family had him stuffed and preserved when he died. It's only now that Concetta decides to let go of the past and throw him in the trash.
    • As Bendicò is being thrown out, Concetta glances out the window. For a moment, she swears she can see the dog's four legs running. But it's not a dog anymore. It's a leopard. The glimpse lasts only a second, though. Then she realizes that it's just Bendicò falling into the trash bin with the rest of the day's garbage.