Home » blog » Classic Romantic Moment: Vanessa and Guiliano

Classic Romantic Moment: Vanessa and Guiliano


The Show: Da Vinci’s Demons

The Pairing: Vanessa Moschella (Hera Hilmar) and Guiliano De Medici (Tom Bateman)

The Episode: The Lovers

The Classic Moment: Guiliano dies in Vanessa’s arms after sacrificing himself for his family.

Vanessa and Guiliano

Vanessa and Guilliano did not have much time to develop as a couple but I was drawn to them in a way that I wasn’t to any other in the first series. This was a short lived but lovely pairing, a romance between the younger Medici brother Guiliano and Da Vinci’s friend and one-time lover Vanessa, an ex-convent girl. It would likely have developed into a wonderful forbidden love story had real historic events not got in the way. The pairing is based partially on truth however. Guiliano did die of 23 stab wounds in a family civil war inside a church and his mistress did bear him a son, having no legitimate heirs himself.

At first, Guiliano seems to be nothing more than a hot headed foil to Da Vinci. But as the series goes on, we actually begin to see that he is the kinder, more worthy of the Medici brothers, displaying his own intelligence and loyalty in a quieter fashion than his bull-headed sibling. Vanessa has been an interesting presence throughout the season as Da Vinci’s most enigmatic friend.

Something began to emerge around the time Guiliano helped Da Vinci to save Vanessa’s life from ergot poisoning. Things became clearer during an episode where they put on a production of the notoriously bawdy Decameron. A production that ended the two sharing an impromptu kiss after the final curtain.


Later, when Guiliano is seeking information about Da Vinci’s movements, it is Vanessa he goes to. They share a moment of understanding and she tells him about her only night with Da Vinci.


After which he asks where Da Vinci has gone of to. She decides to play along…

Vanessa: I’d likely lie to anyone else, excellency but not you. Although, If you tried to force it out of me I’d be helpless to stop you.

She smiles playfully. Taken aback by her insinuation, Guiliano moves closer.


Guiliano: Perhaps we should discuss this somewhere else.

Vanessa: Somewhere more quiet.

Guiliano: Until we make it less so.


They share a kiss before being interrupted by the City Guard come to enforce curfew.

In The Hierophant, Guiliano is betrothed without his consent to Camilla Pazzi, the daughter of a rival house. After confronting his brother, he seeks comfort in wine and ends up falling into the arms of the very understanding Vanessa for the night.


The next morning, she assures him that she agreed to his advances precisely because he was betrothed, placing them in less danger of falling into a doomed romance.


She jokes about that possible future.


Vanessa: If you were unattached, can you imagine what might happen? A Medici marries a commoner.

Guiliano: And would it be so bad…Lady Vanessa?

Vanessa: Your Palace is a prison with better linens…My choices might be limited here but I answer to no one but myself.


He plays with the idea of coming to live with her ‘on her side of things,’ only half joking. He talks of how his marriage to Camilla would be a lie. She responds by reminding him that the marriage would neutralize the enemy family and bring peace to Florence.

Vanessa: And when ruling gets to be too much, we can always snatch a bit of freedom here and there.


Some time later, Guiliano leaves Florence on the trail of a spy he has been tracking who has been passing information to Rome. Unbeknownst to him and his family, the betrothal was just a ruse to provide an opportunity to kill the Medicis. The Pazzis having become impatient due to the missing Guiliano, decide to move up the assassination. Meanwhile, Vanessa discovers that she is expecting Guilliano’s child. A child, a healer tells her is a boy, a boy who will carry on the line since the ruling elder brother has three daughters.


Once Guilliano has found the information he needs, he discovers the plot to kill his family and races back to the church where the Medicis are to be poisoned while taking Holy Communion. Vanessa is also at church and worries over Guilliano’s absence.


Just as the family are about to take communion, Guiliano arrives travel worn and already wounded. He accuses the Pazzis, swords are drawn and the church descends into battle between factions.


Losses mount up on both sides. Guiliano fights bravely but is stabbed in the back by one of Rome’s agents. As he falls, they stab him again and again as Vanessa looks on in anguish.



In the chaos, she rushes to his side and takes him in her arms.


Guiliano: I’m…I’m dying Vanessa.



Vanessa: Your line will live on in me. I’m bearing your child, your son, Guilliano.


Guilliano can only react with surprise and wonder before he dies.


Vanessa is pulled away from his body by Andrea, Da Vinci’s Master and her friend.


Andrea: Vanessa, It’s too late. Vanessa, Leave him.

Vanessa: No… no.

Andrea: Yes, come on.


Guilliano’s body is left alone as the fight rages on. A heartbroken Vanessa is pulled away to safety, previously unaware of quite how doomed their romance was. Only Season 2 will tell how she copes with carrying the sole Medici heir and whether she will go to his family for help.

What did you think of the pairing? Over too soon or perfect in its tragic briefness?

Photo Credits: Starz


Silver Petticoat Review Logo Our romance-themed entertainment site is on a mission to help you find the best period dramas, romance movies, TV shows, and books. Other topics include Jane Austen, Classic Hollywood, TV Couples, Fairy Tales, Romantic Living, Romanticism, and more. We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution. Join us and subscribe. For more information, see our About, Old-Fashioned Romance 101, Modern Romanticism 101, and Romantic Living 101.
Pin this article to read later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest.


By on February 7th, 2015

About Elinor Cackett

Elinor is a writer and semi-recent graduate of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. She has been writing ever since she could hold a pen but her love affair with fiction started when the entirety of David Eddings’ 'The Belgariad' was read to her at age four. She currently has a couple of books and half a dozen short stories on the go. She spends her free time writing, analysing media and knitting very colourful scarves.

More posts by this author.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.