Italian Aristocracy. Born in Rome, the third child of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and his mistress Vanozza dei Cattanei, she stayed in her mother's house for three years before she and her brothers were removed to the care of a Borgia cousin, Adriana de Mila. Like most women of the age, she was little more than a pawn. At eleven she was betrothed to Don Cherubin de Centelles; the betrothal, however, was broken almost immediately, and Lucrezia was married by proxy to Don Gasparo de Procida. In 1492 Cardinal Borgia was elected Pope Alexander VI, and annulled his daughter's proxy marriage in favor of a more lucrative betrothal to Giovanni Sforza. After two years, however, the papal alliance changed and Sforza was forced to sign a confession of impotence and another marriage was annulled. During the proceedings, Lucrezia apparently had an affair with Pedro Calderon with whom she had a son. Her brother, Cesare, had Calderon murdered. Lucrezia was then married to Alfonso, Duke of Bisceglie, allowing the pope yet another alliance. That alliance also fell out a favor, and after two years, the young husband was killed by Cesare in 1500. Weighing against the Borgia's poor reputation, an immense dowry found Lucrezia a new husband in the form of Alphonso, son and heir to Ercole d'Este, duke of Ferrara. She and her husband had at least six children together and the last years of her life were apparently devoted to them. She became devoutly religious and retreated several times a year to the convent of San Bernardino. She died of childbed fever a respected mother, wife, and Duchess of Ferrara. Modern scholarship agrees that her popular reputation is far more folklore than fact. She was the inspiration for Pietro Bembo's book "Gli Asolani."
Bio by: Iola