In 1513, Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21), received a rather special gift from the King of Portugal, Manuel de Aviz. The gift took the form of a white baby elephant, who was called Annone in memory of one of Hannibal's generals.
The elephant quickly became a great favourite, both with the pope and the people of Rome, who flocked to see it. Annone was taught by his keeper to do a variety of tricks, one of which was to kneel in the presence of the Holy Father.
Sadly, Rome's climate did not suit Annone and he died three years later, much to the distress of the pope.
In the Palazzo Baldassini, there is a carving of Annone in the frieze decorating the courtyard. The palace was constructed in the Renaissance style by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger between 1514 and 1524. Both the architect and the pope hailed from Florence.