Eco is a Professor of semiotics at University of Bologna. I didn't know what semiotics meant, really, so I read this book, translated into English. My Italian friend says Eco is complex even in Italian. Full of occult, arcane information. The Masons, Cabalists, Illuminati, Jesuits, Brazilian occult practitioners, a bit of the history of science and technology, and of course it is really all about the Templars. Quite a journey. Much of it is apparently historical fact, and it reads like Dan Brown for academics. Turns out that semiotics is symbolism. A two-renewal read if you are up to it, and includes some mathematics at the beginning to frighten off the weak. Thrilling.