Lucrezia Borgia is the most unfortunate woman in modern history.
Is it so because perhaps she was the guiltiest? Or does she have to carry the weight of an execration that the world has inflicted upon her by mistake?
This is the question that Ferdinand Gregorovius asks himself at the beginning of his monograph on Lucrezia (1480-1519). Victor Hugo represented her as a moral monster and such an image has spread over the decades throughout European theaters. Geneviève Chastenet, on the contrary, has nearly transformed her into a heroine, a victim of circumstances and of the appalling family she was born into.
Princess of Salerno, Governor of the Duchy of Spoleto, Regent of the State of the Church, Regent of the Duchy of Ferrara, Lucrezia is one of the most controversial and fascinating women of Italian and European Renaissance. Her life is that of a fictional character sided by a gallery of impressive personalities: from her father Pope Alexander VI to her brother Cesare, Duke of Valentinois (named the ‘Valentino’) who inspired Niccolò Machiavelli´s ‘Prince’.
Sexual excesses, crimes, civilian and ecclesiastical arbitrators emboss the structure of a society that was changing the world and the way it was represented.