<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 Vatican
Heritage place of interest.
Heritage place of interest.
Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City(BriYYZ CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Hall of the Saints, Borgia Apartments
Hall of the Liberal Arts by Pinturicchio, Borgia Apartments
Hall of the Saints, Borgia Apartments

The path brings us to the last place, the Vatican.

Famously known for its papal residences, the complex contains many other ancient private rooms, including the Borgia Apartments, located in the Apostolic Palace. These rooms were frescoed by Bernardino di Becchio (popularly known as Pinturicchio), a renowned Italian painter of that time, on the commission of Pope Alexander VI. 

These rooms bear magnificent paintings, and it was under these magnificently frescoed ceilings that the assassination of Alfonso d’Aragona, Duke of Bisceglie, husband of Lucrezia Borgia, took place. 

After being heavily wounded outside the Vatican by Cesare Borgia’s principals, Alfonso was brought to these rooms under the trusted care of his Aragonese circle. However, before Alfonso could recover from his wounds and escape, he was finally killed by Cesare’s assassins. The reasons were the changing fortunes of the kingdoms, for whom the Aragonese simply represented an inconvenience to be eliminated. 

This was another murder in the name of power signed by Borgia name.

This conclusive place can tell the story of the Spanish family’s stay in the Vatican and give an idea of the significant influence that changed the destiny of the kingdoms of Italy, making us reflect on the incredible impact of decisions based on personal motivations.

The power of the Borgia family did not last long and began a relatively short decline with the death of Rodrigo in 1503 CE for reasons that are still unclear. As for Vannozza, some sources speak of an end dedicated to expiation and penance and condemned to see three of her sons die: after the murder of Giovanni, Cesare lost his life in the siege of Viana, in Navarra, Spanish territory, on the night of 12 March 1507. Then it was the turn of Goffredo, ten years later, in January 1517, leaving as the last living Lucrezia, who by the will of fate died after childbirth on 24 June 1519 at the age of thirty-nine, only a few months after her mother’s death.


1. The tower

2. A dreadful alley

3. The murder

4. The tavern

5. The castle

6. The Vatican