<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 tavern
(by Lalupa, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
Coat of Arms Borgia-Cattanei (Peter1936F, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

(by Lalupa, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Continuing through ancient alleys and historic buildings, we proceed to Campo dei Fiori. 

Here, in Vicolo del Gallo, at number 13, lies a unique and incredible coat of arms symbolising the union between the Borgia and Cattanei families. In fact, on top of an old door is the relief bearing the fringes of the two families. It is visible respectively in the first and fourth quadrants, a bull and three bands, the indistinguishable sign of the Borgias, and lions representing the Cattanei-Canalei family (Carlo Canale, Vannozza’s previous husband).

Probably raised in a family of Lombard artisans, Vannozza earned her living by climbing the ranks of society through sacrifice and perseverance. An undoubtedly fascinating woman, in line with the aesthetic canons of the period, capable of conquering with the right combination of cunning and seduction, skills which did not go unnoticed by the pretensions of the Renaissance upper middle class, much less by the Pope himself.

This place was the site of Vannozza’s Locanda del Gallo (also known as Locanda Della Vacca), where all four children are believed to have been raised, and thus the second home of the courtesan. Vannozza ran more than one tavern, but this one, ‘Del Gallo’, was frequented by high-ranking people who liked to entertain themselves with the many prostitutes working for Vannozza.

This is undoubtedly a characteristic place that bears the Borgia name and is capable of showing a fascinating and curious side of the noble Valencian family’s stay in Rome.


1. The tower

2. A dreadful alley

3. The murder

4. The tavern

5. The castle

6. The Vatican