The work focuses on a group of letters held in the archives of the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo, written from 1578 to 1587 by some familiares of the cardinal Giovanni Girolamo Albani (1509-1591). The correspondence shows a deep interest in esoteric matters, such as alchemy and prophecies. At first, the essay deals with the issue of an alchemical recipe. Then, it offers an interpretation of the meaning and the uses of an unpublished prophecy that foresees the imminent death of the pope, nurturing among Albani’s entourage the desire to see their master elected. At last, a letter of 1587 mentions two «ancient prophecies», hitherto known as having been published at the end of 16th century. Thus, the article backdates these texts, and especially reconsiders the hypothesis about the redaction of the famous St. Malachy’s Prophecies of the Popes. In general, these letters represent an inner and vivid cross section of the beliefs that characterised the life of the papal court. Lorenzo Comensoli Antonini, Università degli Studi di Padova / Université Paris-Sorbonne.
Lorenzo Comensoli Antonini, Università degli Studi di Padova / Université Paris-Sorbonne.