Cerca Trova “Seek and you shall find”

In Dan Brown Inferno, the word cerca trova is mentioned quite a number of times and play a key role in the storyline of the book. To understand the significance of the word and the history behind, we will need to step into the Hall of the Five Hundred, located right in Palazzo VecchioIn, Florence.

In the Hall of the Five Hundred lies one of the murals painted by Vasari, the “Battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana”. This mural is actually a painting painted over a wall, that is why we called it a mural instead of a painting. The size of this mural is tremendous large. To give you a sense of the sheer size of this mural, let’s take a look at some of the photos.

Vasari Hall of 500

A complete look at the mural.

Notice in the right corner of the complete view of the mural, there is a person trying to strangle another person, with both his hands on his neck while the person is lying down on his back.

view of the workers analysing the murals in the Hall of 500

This is a view of the workers analysing the murals in the Hall of 500.

Notice the same duo fighting in the foreground as mentioned above. This is how big the mural is. Actually the mural measures 52 metres by length and 23 metres by height. I can only imagine the time and effort spend on this mural just by looking at the sheer size. It has to be at least 500 normal paintings worth of area. Perhaps that is why this hall is called the Hall of 500. Actually the name came from the purpose of the hall, which is used as a court to host the Grand Council of 500 members in the past.

This particular portion of the mural is called “The Victory of Cosimo I at Marciano in Val di Chiana” (also called the Battle of Scannagallo in the Val di Chiana in 1554). A closer look at this part of the mural.

The Victory of Cosimo I at Marciano in Val di Chiana

A closer look at The Victory of Cosimo I at Marciano in Val di Chiana

Notice the red circle at in the murals. That is actually where the flag which bears the words, cerca trova is located.

The flag that holds the words Cerca Trova

The flag that holds the words Cerca Trova.

Because of the sheer size and height of the painting, it will not be easy to spot the words cerca trova in the actual mural. However, after many years, people began to spot the words and figure out what does it stand for. In some forms of translation, it means “He who seeks, find.” instead of “Seek and you shall find.”

Many speculates that this mural actually hides another painting in the walls of this hall, thus the reason for the phrase cerca trova. The painting, as mentioned in the book is the Battle of Anghiari, sometimes also refered to as “The Lost Leonardo”.

image of the battle of Anghiari.

An image of the battle of Anghiari.

To date, the painting is still not found despite several attempts to extract the painting from within the wall. However, many evidence show that the painting is indeed behind the wall but getting to the painting will actually damage the mural and parts of the building which is consider very valuable as well. We do think the painting is meant to be found through the hint that Vasari had put in place to protect the legacy of Leonardo. However, Vasari had become a legend by himself and his work is considered to be too valuable to destroy at this stage, even though the intention of the work is to allow descendants to find the Lost Leonardo. Perhaps Robert Langdon should have found this painting instead, thrilling the impossible find to the people.

Cerca Trova.

Seek and you shall find.


Dan Brown Inferno Cover Secrets

Before the release of Dan Brown Inferno, a look at the the cover of the book reveals some letters hidden in the spiral design of the cover. The word CATROVACER can be found hidden in the design. What I was more intrigue by was the Roman numbers found inside the design

Cover: Dan Brown Inferno

The cover of Dan Brown Inferno

The Roman numbers are from one to nine. It represents the nine levels of hell, all the way to the centre of Earth. However, could it be so simple as to count for us the layers of hell?

In the middle of the book, there was another code for Robert Langdon to solve. It appeared in the spiral form, similar to the one on the cover page. Of course in the end, Robert managed to took it apart and solve it line by line.

Spiral Code

The spiral code hidden in the mask of Dante.

Could the spiral code and the cover have a interesting relationship? There could be a code hidden in the cover as well as on this spiral code. So what we did was to make a copy of the cover (of course we cannot bear to destroy the cover of the book with some experiments) and cut off the Roman numbers. After that, we overlay the cut cover onto the spiral code.

Cut copy: Dan Brown Inferno

The cut copy of the Inferno cover.

By using the full stop at the end, it helps to align the centre. After that it is lots of rotating to see what interesting letters come out of it. After lots of trying and a slight headache, nothing make sense. So in the end, we aligned it straight up, got the nearest letter that we could see through the holes and came out with this string of letters.


A little bit of unscrambling and the only sensible phrase that we could make out of it was


Naught today. Hope others have better luck and managed to come out with something more interesting.

CATROVACER. The truth behind it.

Warning!! Spoilers ahead!! Don’t not read this post if you haven’t finish the book or read about CATROVACER yet.

The first cipher that appears on in the book are the letters CATROVACER. This came from the Map of Hell, a painting by Sandro Botticelli.

Botticelli's Map of Hell where CATROVACER is found

Botticelli’s Map of Hell in Dan Brown Inferno where CATROVACER appeared.

Of course we all know what it leads to eventually in the book. However, we did look into the letters and discovered something else that is interesting.

Let’s look at the word again.


In the book, the letters are divided in a manner that cut off the last third letters.


Using letter number code where A = 1 and B = 2, etc, CER can be converted into numbers.


Scrambling the numbers a little became


Still doesn’t make sense? Given the release date of the book is 14th May 2013, which is 14.5.13 and the timing of the release of the virus is going to be “tomorrow” as stated in the book which is going to be 15th May 2013, 15.5.2013. But in fact, Bertrand Zobrist had timed its release a week early. So the actual date of the release of the virus is ….. that is correct. 8th May 2013, 8.5.13.

Undisputed truth “behind” CATROVACER.

Dan Brown Inferno Review

After releasing The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown wrote The Lost Symbol followed by Inferno, which is the latest addition to the story of Robert Langdon, the main protagonist in four of his novels. Tom Hanks had starred in two of the motion pictures adapted from the novels, The Da Vinci Code and the prequel Angels and Demons.

Da Vinci Code Cover

The Da Vinci Code Cover

The success of the movie, The Da Vinci Code is phenomenal. The movie bought many more people into the world of Dan Brown, who enjoyed the controversial topics that The Da Vinci Code  meddled about. Touching on many sensitive parts in Christian history and making it felt so real and believable was the art of Dan Brown in the novel. The audience tried to capture an similar act in the Lost Symbol but it just wasn’t as believable nor as interesting as the previous one.

With the launch date of Inferno on 5.14.13 read backwards as the starting five digits of π, it brought about anticipation and excitement about the new book. Hopefully it could be as good as The Da Vinci Code, or even better than that. However, it proves to be a sales gimmick as the book has really nothing much to do with π or any other constants for the matter of it.

Nonetheless, Dan Brown Inferno should still be a good read as it is still filled with adventures, mystery and the usual twists in the plots that we so adore in his novels. At least it was better than The Lost Symbol but a little less touchy and shocking than the Da Vinci Code itself. There is no wow moments in the Inferno, no omg is this real moments either. Just plain old adventures and code breaking and saving the world in the end….. or maybe not …….. or maybe yes.

More of the review of Dan Brown Inferno will be posted and we welcome comments and discussions.

Dan Brown Inferno: Insights on Prologue

The prologue of Dan Brown’s Inferno about a character, named “Shade”, making his way through the city as he was being pursued by unknown group of people. There is a significant number of landmarks that he passed. include River Arno, Via dei Castellani, Uffizi, Piazza di San Firenze, Bargello and finally Badia.

River Arno with the 'Duomo' behind.

River Arno with the ‘Duomo’ behind.

The journey he took was mapped based on a lot of google mapping and wiki searches.

"turning left on to Via dei Castellani"

“turning left on to Via dei Castellani”


Travelling on Via dei Castellani


“snaking through the early-morning vendors in Piazza di San Firenze”


“Crossing before the Bargello, I cut west toward the spire of the Badia.”


Thanks Google for the map. : )

Initially after reading the prologue, we had a quick assumption that the Shade was Dante himself, narrating his thoughts as a first person as he was being chased. The reason was because he called out to Vigil, who was Dante’s Guide the the Divine Comedy. But later on, he mentioned all these names: Giotto, Donatello, Brunelleschi, MichelangeloBotticelli. A search on the internet found them to be great artists, architects, sculptors and legendary when they are alive and even now so. All of them were born in Florence, Italy. Although some of them were living at the same time as Dante, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo was born after the death of Dante. Hence the Shade could not be Dante himself and so should be a existing character in Inferno.

Another thing to note is how the Shade appraised all the legendary artists except Dante himself. Could it be that the Shade had discovered something about Dante that excludes him from the list or is it because he wasn’t legendary enough.

So the Shade was hiding some thing physical and only he knows the location of the item. For that he was being pursued and forced into a corner. Whether did he die at the end is unknown. However, the secret cannot be lost and either he has to live or leave his secret behind in cipers. Our guess is he will be Da Vinci Code’s equivalent of Silas.


Inferno book cover background

Dan Brown Inferno Cover

Dan Brown Inferno Cover

As we can observe, Dan Brown Inferno has a city line on the right side of the background of the cover of the book. The city line image actually belongs to Florence, Italy. The most prominent building in the city line is Florence Cathedral, also known as The Duomo. The Duomo begun constructed in 1296 and was completed in 1436.

Florence, Italy. The Duomo.

Florence, Italy. The Duomo.

Dante was alive during the construction although he did not survived to see it being completed. However, it is the construction duration that would be sufficient as he could have participate in the construction of the Cathedral. It wouldn’t be far stretch to say that he has some influence in the design and layout of the Cathedral and could have probably hidden some ciphers within the the place.

Another thing to take note is that the Duomo holds some of the most important pieces of art related to Dante. A painting by Domenico di Michelino, ‘Dante Before the City of Florence’ currently resides in the Cathedral. The painting shows scenes of the Divine Comedy and a view on Florence, similar to the cover of Inferno.

The painting 'Dante Before the City of Florence'.

The painting ‘Dante Before the City of Florence’.

If we remember what Robert Langdon saw in the painting of the Last Supper, maybe Inferno may have something interesting hidden in this painting too.

Regardless of the speculations, it should not be too far off from the real novel and reading and researching a bit on the history of all these materials will prove to enhance the enjoyment of reading Dan Brown’s Inferno when it hits the store soon.

Publisher reveals clue in release date

Suzanne Herz, a Doubleday senior vice president, reveals that the release date is a ciper in relation to pi, the Mathematical constant for circles. The release date, 14th of May can also be written as 5.14.13 when read backwards is 31415, which corresponds to the value of π. How will this impact Inferno and its storyline, that we do not know, but hiding something so enormous at plain sight is truly genius of Dan Brown.

We do hope that π actually plays an active part in the story itself. After all, π is God’s langauge to man by creating shape. Measuring circles is like measuring God’s strength and ideals. We can never find the true constant value of π, even until today. π being a irrational number with digits so many that computers took years to calculate. Sun, planets, fruits, are all made round because it is god’s shape of choice. From stars to cells and atoms, all took somewhat a circular shape. Even planets in orbit moves in a circular motion. A circle is widely regarded as a polygon with infinite sides or faces, somewhat reflects on the true image of god, faceless yet with an omnipresence. Following the footsteps of Da Vinci’s Code, Inferno, heavily referenced to Dante’s Divine Comedy will be definitely about God. What could be better then to relate π to God, as God created all of the universe and mankind.

We shall see whether there’s anymore development coming out and keep you all posted.

Prologue and Chapter 1 released.

The prologue and Chapter 1 is released for preview purposes. It gave us a sneak peek into the story and settings of the new novel. Inferno is heavily centered around Dante Alighieri’s poem ‘The Divine Comedy’, which dictates Dante’s journey through Hell and Heaven. The presence of an organisation ‘The Consortium’ could be the equivalent of Da Vinci’s Free Masons.

More on the prologue and Chapter 1.