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.