Borgia, Lucrezia , 1480–1519,
Italian noblewoman, famous figure of the Italian Renaissance; daughter of Pope Alexander VI and of Vannozza Cattanei, was probably a victim of her father and of her brother, Cesare Borgia, who maneuvered and contorted her marital affairs and created her destiny.. Her first marriage (1492) to Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro, and nephew of Ludovico il Moro, was annulled in 1497 by the Pope. The reason being that, in 1497, the Pope struck an alliance with the kings of Naples who were enemies of the Sforza's. So the Pope gave her as wife to Alfonso of Aragón, illegitimate son of Alfonso II of Naples. Her brother, Cesare Borgia, had her second husband murdered in 1499, and a year later Lucrezia was given as wife to Alfonso d'Este, who became duke of Ferrara in 1505. As duchess of Ferrara, Lucrezia at last escaped the horrible atmosphere of her family. In Ferrara she had a brilliant court that attracted many artists and famous as Ariosto. Through a common friend, Ercole Strozzi, she met and perhaps loved Pietro Bembo, who dedicated to her Gli Asolani. Later she fell in love with Francesco II Gonzaga, husband of Isabella d'Este and Lord of Mantua. But the sudden death of her father(1503), the tragic death of her brother Cesare(1507), and, finally, the barbaric assassination of her fried Ercole Strozzi (1508) depressed her so deeply and to the point that eventually brought her to death.
Rumors of her participation in her family's poison plots, of incestuous relations with her father and brother, and of her supposed extravagant vices have not been proved. She was probably only a victim of her family. Be as it may, the figure of Lucrezia Borgia was the inspiration of a drama by Victor Hugo, a melodrama by Gaetano Donizetti, and a great numbers of novels reflecting these rumors and legends.