Born in 1431, Vlad Tepes(aka Vlad the Impaler) was the infamous prince of Walachia who would become the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Part of a noble family who belonged to the Order of the Dragon, a group that was founded as a means of protecting Christianity in Eastern Europe from Ottoman expansion. His father was nicknamed Dracul, which means “Dragon,” so young Vlad became known as Dracula, or “son of Dragon.”
Vlad’s ultimate enemy were the Ottomans, and in 1476, Vlad Tepes disappeared in battle. No one seems to know what exactly happened to him; some sources have claimed he died in battle.Legend claims that Vlad’s decapitated body was found in the woods around Bucharest by the monks of the Snagov Monastery and took him there to be buried since both Vlad and his father had donated money to the church.
But in 2014, researchers discovered evidence that suggests the count was taken prisoner, ransomed to his daughter–then safe in Italy– and when he later died, was buried in a church in Naples. His daughter Maria was adopted into the Neapolitan court and eventually married to a nobleman.
Medieval history scholar Raffaello Glinni is convinced that a particular 16th century tomb in Italy is covered in images and symbols of the House of the Transylvanian ‘Carpathians’, and is not quite representative of an Italian nobleman. Researchers are claiming a newly uncovered headstone in Naples’ Piazza Santa Maria la Nova, in the same graveyard as his daughter and son-in-law, could be Vlad’s final resting place.
‘When you look at the bas-relief sculptures the symbolism is obvious’, Glinni told Neapolitan newspaper Il Mattino.
‘The dragon means Dracula. and the two opposing sphinxes represent the city of Thebes also called Tepes. In these symbols, Dracula Tepes, the very name of the count is written,’ he said.