The Black Dinner, Voynich Manuscript, Seward Attack

Visit a giant fortress in Scotland where a 15th-century power struggle climaxed, explore an Italian villa that housed a mysterious manuscript, and tour an upstate New York mansion that belonged to one of Abraham Lincoln's closest advisors.

From This Episode

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

In 15th-century Scotland, the 10-year-old King James ruled an unstable kingdom plagued by political tensions and rivalries, and a dinner party held at Edinburgh Castle was the legendary setting for an act so shocking and brutal that it still resonates in Scotland to this day. 960 1280

  

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Head to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, for a tour of the ancient castle full of Scottish history. The stained glass windows seen here can be found in the Great Hall, which was completed in 1511 and is renowned for its beautiful Hammerbeam roof. 960 1280

  

Seward House

Seward House

The stately Seward House in Auburn, NY, was the home of Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State and one of his closest advisors, William Seward. At the close of the Civil War in 1865, William Seward survived a grisly attack that may have been part of the same conspiracy that took President Lincoln’s life. 960 1280

  

Seward House

Seward House

The Seward House is now home to the Seward House Museum, which documents the life of the Secretary of State. The house is preserved with the original furnishings, belongings and artwork that belonged to the Seward family. 960 1280

  

Mondragone Villa

Mondragone Villa

When the Polish antiquarian Wilfred Voynich discovers a strange manuscript filled with cryptic words and images in the Villa Mondragone in Italy, he is convinced he has discovered a rare and valuable artifact. 960 1280

  

Mondragone Villa

Mondragone Villa

Villa Mondragone is located about 12 miles southeast of Rome, and served as a temporary home for a few popes in the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s currently owned by the University of Rome Tor Vergata. 960 1280

  

Searles Castle

Searles Castle

In the Western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington, the blue dolomite mansion known as Searles Castle was commissioned by the wealthy widow Mary Hopkins. The man she hired to create it was Edward Searles, a charming interior designer, who the widow Mary would eventually marry. 960 1280

  

Searles Castle

Searles Castle

Searles Castle has 40 rooms, 36 fireplaces, 7 stories and even a dungeon-style basement. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has changed hands several times since Searles’ death in 1920. 960 1280

  

Danesfield House

Danesfield House

About 35 miles from London, a country estate known as Danesfield House was a haven for British intelligence agents during World War II. It was here in 1943, that a young female analyst named Constance Babington Smith made a crucial discovery about the Nazi war machine, which would change the course of the conflict in Europe. 960 1280

  

Danesfield House

Danesfield House

Once a country house and wartime military base, Danesfield House has found another life as a luxury hotel and spa, complete with a pool, first-class dining and an unparalleled garden. 960 1280

  

Gradara Castle

Gradara Castle

Along the picturesque shoreline of Northeast Italy, Gradara Castle was the setting for a legendary episode from the 13th century, in which the beautiful Francesca Da Polenta was promised in marriage to the eldest son of the Malatesta clan. But when Francesca began a love affair with the brother of her new husband, the result was a tragedy immortalized in Dante’s Divine Comedy. 960 1280

  

Gradara Castle

Gradara Castle

A fortress on a hill, Gradara Castle and the town surrounding it are enclosed by 2 city walls. But despite its imposing appearance, the castle and its grounds are open for guided tours and cultural events. 960 1280

  

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