Savonarola, was a demagogue par excellance, and his sermons started to take effect, leading up to the point where he was beginning to acquire political power. He and his followers with the participation of some of the leading citizens held Bonfires of the Vanities, where books, immoral art, mirrors, and other material considered decadent were burned in the Piazza della Signoria.
Savonarola preached vehemently against the moral corruption of the clergy at the time, inevitably bringing him into direct conflict with Pope Alexander. Savonarola's fanaticism inevitably led to a defection of many of his followers and in 1497 he was excommunicated by Pope Alexander and then arrested and charged with heresy, sedition and other offences. Under torture, he confessed (but recanted these confessions) to the "crimes" and was sentenced to death. He was burned at the stake in 1498 at the exact same spot where he used to conduct his Bonfires of the Vanities. It was said that his ashes were then thrown into the River Arno.
|Piazza della Signoria where Savonarola was burned at the stake|