<p>(by Fred Romero, CC BY 2.0, Flickr)</p>
  • Europe /
  • Italy /
  • Rome

The Borgias, a family of Spanish origin, dominated the Italian scene at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries CE.

The murder
(Bruno CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

(Bruno CC BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Leaving this place and continuing through magnificent ancient Roman remains, one can appreciate the grandeur and uniqueness of Rome. This place boasts countless artistic styles that follow one another at every corner and alley, suggesting a colourful past.

We now come to what was once one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the world, the Ghetto of Rome. A renowned Jewish quarter, it was known as a slum due to the conditions in which all those of the Jewish faith were forced to reside within the ghetto, deprived of their basic citizen status. Moreover, this place is closely linked to the Borgias because of a unique and shocking murder.

According to tradition, right near the church of Santa Maria del Pianto, in the alley that joins Via del Portico d’Ottavia and Piazza delle Cinque Scole, Giovanni Borgia was murdered. His body was found in the river Tiber in the following days, showing ferocious stab wounds to his head and chest. Due to the absence of witnesses, the crime aroused rumours and accusations on various sides, from the rival Orsini family to his jealous brother Cesare, who was insatiable for fame and power.

The real causes of this murder are still unclear today, of course. Still, it is possible to understand the pressures that power could play at that time, where differences and covetousness were sometimes an obstacle that left no room for peaceful dreams. Bonds of friendship or blood were often too fragile and at the mercy of events.


1. The tower

2. A dreadful alley

3. The murder

4. The tavern

5. The castle

6. The Vatican