Rodolfo has been described as having "...silver hair and slight stoop..." in City of Masks and being "tall and thin." He has a hawkish face and black eyes, possessing a somewhat intimidating appearance. Rodolfo commonly wears black velvet. While he possesses a stern and serious demeanor, he is kind and generous towards his friends and family.
When Lucien Mulholland arrives in Bellezza, he is quickly found by Rodolfo, who reveals they are both Stravaganti, members of a secret order who are capable of crossing between Rodolfo's world and Lucien's world by aid of a talisman. Rodolfo's talisman is revealed to be a ring given to him by William Dethridge that he wears on a chain around his neck.
Lucien becomes Rodolfo's apprentice and learns the ways of Talia and studies science with Rodolfo. Well-known as a scientist and possesses one of the finest laboratories in Talia, he is particularly celebrated his firework creations. As Lucien's teacher, he regards Lucien as a son of sorts, especially after Lucien is engaged to Arianna, Rodolfo's daughter, and deeply regrets that Lucien is forcibly translated to Talia when he is kidnapped by the di Chimici and unable to return before his life in England expires.
In Bellezza, Rodolfo is a distinguished senator who later serves as the regent of Bellezza for Arianna until she comes of age. Privately, he was romantically involved with the former Duchessa of Bellezza, Silvia Bellini, who came to recognize him after meeting his two older brothers Egidio and Fiorentino. On the day of the Marriage with the Sea of 1577, he marries Silvia in a private ceremony, and later publicly marries her in her new identity after she fakes her death to allow Arianna to succeed her as Duchessa.
Rodolfo & SilviaEdit
Rodolfo was the youngest of three brothers and the last to present himself at the Scuola Mandoliera. Upon meeting him, Silvia decided that he would benefit more from a university education and she personally financed his studies at the University at Padavia. When he returned, the Duchessa set up one of the finest laboratories in Talia for his use next to the Ducal Palazzo. They became lovers afterward, with a secret corridor between the lab and the Duchessa's personal chambers to facilitate their meetings. They eventually married in a secret ceremony on the day of Marriage with the Sea in 1577.
Unknown to Rodolfo, their relationship resulted in the birth of a daughter, who was spirited away at birth to prevent her from being used against the Duchessa. During the events of City of Masks, Silvia elects to take advantage of a failed assassination attempt to step down as Duchessa, allowing the general public to believe she is dead. The existence of her unknown daughter, Arianna Gasparini, is made public to ensure that Arianna will be elected as the new Duchessa. To prevent Arianna's election from being overturned, Silvia reveals to Rodolfo that Arianna is his daughter, whose birth was legitimizied by their marriage.
After City of Masks, Rodolfo and Silvia maintain their relationship in secret as Silvia begins her life as a wealthy widow from the nearby Padavia. They marry again in a public ceremony conducted by Brother Sulien in City of Flowers, after which Silvia returns to the Ducal Palazzo in Bellezza under the guise of being Rodolfo's second wife and Arianna's stepmother.
Rodolfo & AriannaEdit
During City of Masks, Rodolfo initially approaches Arianna, staying Bellezza with her aunt Leonora, to be a friend to Lucien and teach him how to be a Bellezzan. He later learns that Arianna is actually his daughter by Silvia and becomes Arianna's regent after she is elected Duchessa of Bellezza. After Arianna's election is declared valid, Rodolfo reveals to Arianna that had he known the Duchessa given birth to his child, he would have taken his daughter and raised her himself rather than agreeing to Silvia's scheme.
Along with serving as her regent when she becomes Duchessa, Arianna describes Rodolfo as a kind and devoted father, though a strict and demanding teacher. As her regent, Rodolfo advises and teaches Arianna on political matters and statecraft to ensure that she will be a capable ruler in her own right when she comes of age. During the regency, Rodolfo and Arianna are openly known to have a strong relationship such that Gaetano di Chimici quickly recognizes them as a dangerous pair.
Though they share a fond and trusting relationship, Rodolfo occasionally rues that he was unable to care for Arianna during her childhood and that he never had an opportunity to become someone she would have immediately approached for unconditional love and protection. After the Battle of Classe, he elects to step down as regent, believing that Arianna is now able to rule without his guidance. However, the young Duchessa makes clear that though her father now believes she possesses sound judgment as a ruler, she will always trust him as someone she can rely on.
Rodolfo & LucianoEdit
Rodolfo is responsible for bringing the talisman that Lucien Mulholland uses to stravagate to Bellezza. Throughout City of Masks, Rodolfo serves as Lucien's mentor, teaching him about the world of Talia and having Lucien serve as his assistant during various scientific projects. When Lucien is translated permanently to Talia as a result of dying in his original world, Rodolfo feels deep regret, believing that he partly responsible. At the end of the novel, Rodolfo stravagates to London and returns with a new talisman for Luciano, so he may return to England.
In subsequent books, Luciano continues as Rodolfo's apprentice and he looks up to Rodolfo, who continues to protect and guide him. Luciano is eventually released from his apprenticeship and appointed a cavaliere of Bellezza. Though Rodolfo had hoped for Luciano to study science in Padavia, he insists that Luciano receive the education suitable for a nobleman when Luciano becomes engaged to Arianna. When Luciano marries Arianna, Luciano will be Rodolfo's son-in-law.
Notes and ReferencesEdit
- ↑ Until the end of City of Ships, when Arianna comes of age
- ↑ He is 5 years younger than the Duchessa who was born in 1532
- ↑ Since he was able to be in Bellezza on the forbidden day he must be born in Bellezza
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 City of Masks
|The Talian Stravaganti |
Rodolfo Rossi · Guglielmo Crinamorte · Luciano Crinamorte · Paolo Montalbano · Falco di Chimici · Brother Sulien · Giuditta Miele · Professor Constantin · Flavia · Fabio della Spada · Giovanni · Fulvia · Germano · Corrado · Aurora · Ranieri
|The English Stravaganti |
William Dethridge · Lucien Mullholland · Georgia O'Grady · Nick Duke · Sky Meadows · Matt Wood · Isabel Evans · Laura Reid · Ross · Julia · Sean · Emily · Rory · Caitlin