Is the Holy Grail in Iceland?

In 2004, a team of Italian researchers began an excavation in Iceland searching for a secret chamber that apparently had been filled with sacred books and objects from the Temple of Jerusalem. Many wonder if this chamber contains the Holy Grail. But does it?

Giancarlo Gianazza, an engineer, cryptographer and author, led the Italian team. He began his circuitous research with a study of Italian paintings. He started with Botticelli’s “Spring”. Gianazza posited that the painting contained a number code demonstrated by the finger language of the figures in the painting and also an astronomical code indicated by the geometric shapes between the fingers of the figures. These codes revealed a date: March 14, 1319.

holy grail in iceland

Valley in the Kerlingarfjöll mountain range in Iceland near where the dig occurred

From his deep knowledge of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Gianazza knew that this date appeared in the Comedy as well. Gianazza explained that “[e]veryone agrees that in the first verses Dante refers to a spring equinox. So far, however, nobody had realised that the planet that forges the human souls (v. 41-42) and is rising with the Sun during this equinox is Saturn. Now, Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun only once every thirty years, so the conjunction must have occurred in 1289, 1319 and 1349. Dante wrote the Divine Comedy between 1300 and 1321, so the date indicated in the first verses of Paradise must be March 14[,] 1319.”

Having come across this link, Gianazza wanted further support that the Comedy and Botticelli’s painting contained codes. He turned to Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” since Da Vinci had worked in the same studio as Botticelli and could have learned the same coding. In the painting Jesus indicates to a loaf of bread, which was not unleavened, and for Passover, according to Jewish tradition, it should have been. This was important to Gianazza because Da Vinci was a detailed, careful artist, and so, this could be no mistake. Using cartographic decoding, Gianazza maintained that the bread revealed the location of three European places: the Greek island of Kythira, Mount Cardou, France, and an area in the interior of Iceland.

Armed with this evidence, Gianazza turned to the Divine Comedy to search for further clues about Iceland’s connection to his research. In the Comedy, Gianazza found coded messages that Dante himself visited Iceland. He explained that “[i]f you think it sounds strange, remember that there is documented evidence that pilgrimages from Iceland to Rome and the Holy Land were taking place as early as the 12th century, so there is no reason why Dante should not have made the journey the other way. And Dante did indeed visit Iceland, probably in 1319. The description of the journey is coded into canto XXVII of the Purgatory.” And therein, he describes a particular place in Iceland, a natural amphitheater near the Jökulfall River, where Dante says there is a stone that lies shaped just like a throne and near that throne is a secret chamber.

holy grail in iceland

Giancarlo Gianazza

It seems incredible that Iceland would be a part of what some call the greatest literary work of all time. Gianazza avers that it is not so far-fetched.

Apparently a group of the Knights Templar, a monastic military order of the Middle Ages long associated with discovering holy relics, visited Iceland. “[I]n the official historic records of Iceland it is stated that in 1217, during the meeting of the Althing – the Parliament established in 930 – the leader and poet Snorri Sturlusson [sic] appears next to what the text defines [as] ‘80 knights from the south, all dressed and armed in the same fashion’ and is elected as commander for that year.” Gianazza is convinced that the Knights “travelled [sic] to Iceland and backed the election of Sturlusson [sic] in exchange for his support in the building of a secret chamber to be filled over the years with sacred books and objects from the Temple of Jerusalem.”

After the eradication of the Knights Templar in 1307, Gianazza believes a secret elite of the Knights remained and that Dante belonged to this elite. Dante, therefore, would have been privy to the knowledge of the Knights and the whereabouts of the secret chamber. Consequently, he would have coded this knowledge into the Comedy.

In speaking with Historic Mysteries, Mr. Gianazza dispelled the idea that he was searching for the Holy Grail or that the Holy Grail is in fact in Iceland. He said that he believes he will find documents and other evidence that simply support his theories surrounding the coding contained in the great Italian works he studies. Gianazza returns to Iceland every July to continue his quest.

“Giancarlo Gianazza Interviewed by Massimo Bonasorte”, Hera Magazine, November 2006
“Quest For Holy Grail In Iceland Unsuccessful”, Iceland Review, September 3, 2008

Do you want to take part to a real adventure? Meet the Italian explorer Giancarlo Gianazza, the ex-engineer in search of a secret hidden in the verses of the Divine Comedy, and preserved in the highlands of Iceland. If you are interested, check out their Facebook Page where you can follow all the updates of Giancarlo and his incredible story. For more info on how to become part of this adventure, subscribe to their weekly newsletter and follow the traces. Visit their website for more details.
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Didi is an attorney, specializing in litigation. She lives is in Connecticut but was born and raised in Iceland. She, like most Icelanders, traces her lineage to 9th century Iceland and is forever fascinated by the history of her people.

Historic Mysteries