Cangrande was an Italian nobleman born at Verona, the third son of Alberto I della Scala, ruler of Verona and Verde da Salizzole. Known for a successful warrior and autocrat, Cangrande was held in great affection by his father who took the extraordinary step of knighting him while still a child on November 11, 1301. When his father died, he was entrusted with his father's title to become the Lord of Verona. after his death, he had no biological sons so his Nephews became his successor.
Cangrande was naturally mummified, researchers discovered a well preserved body rapped in silk textiles and was still wearing some clothes, he was lying on his back with his arms folded across the thorax and his lower limbs extended.
The mummy was studied using a CT scanner which showed regurgitated food in the throat, signs of mild arthritis were also found in his elbows and hips along with evidence of cirrhosis and tuberculosis. Preliminary analysis found presence of pollen grains from the Foxglove flower. Toxicological analysis revealed toxic concentration of digoxin and digitoxin from the foxglove flower in the lever and feacal samples. These studies proved the cause of his death which was deliberate poisoning by being fed the poisonous flower.
During the autopsy, the abdomen appeared very expanded, probably due to putrefied changes.The skin showed a dark brown color at the head and legs, light brown under the clothes.The soft tissues of the face appeared preserved, with retracted lips revealing the upper anterior incisors and a flattened nose.The incisors showed some enamel hypoplasia lines, The hair was curly and brown. To avoid damage to the mummy, autopsy was performed by a circular opening of the abdomen, from the sternum to the pubis, which allowed us to reach the abdominal and thoracic cavities. The viscera appeared totally collapsed on the posterior wall, forming an homogeneous layer of about 5 cm. Samples for histology were collected according to the topography of the organs.
- Website "Cangrande della Scala: la morte ed il corredo di un principe nel medioevo europe", 2005
- The mummy of Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona (1291–1329): A case of Medieval acute Digitalis intoxication" (PDF). VI World Congress On Mummy Studies. February 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-31.