My first introduction to the Sforza family was through Showtime’s The Borgias. As I have begun looking into historical Italian figures of the past the Sforza name has appeared in many places. They were an influential family in their day who made a major role in the development of Italy. Here are 12 of the most interesting facts I found about the family.
- Francesco Sforza I married the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan and eventually declared himself Duke in 1450.
- He founded one of the first hospitals in Milan known as Ospedale Maggiore di Milano.
- Ludovico Sforza had Leonardo da Vinci working for him for 18 years. He actually commissioned da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.
- Ludovico Sforza lost Milan to King Louis XII of France during the Italian Wars.
- Just like in the show, Lucrezia Borgia was married into their family. Eventually the marriage was annulled once the alliance proved to be no longer useful.
- The Sforza’s relied heavily on the funds provided by the Medici bank. The family basically drained the Milan branch of the bank, forcing it to close in 1478.
- Caterina Sforza married into the Medici family later in her life. Her grandson became the second Duke of Florence.
- There is a member of the family named Sforza Sforza.
- The family fell out of power in Milan in 1535 with the death of Francesco Sforza II.
- Sforza Castle is still standing and is used as a museum and houses several art collections.
- A member of the family had the history of the Sforza house written as a book sometime in the 17th-century. The book is still in print to this day.
- There is still a current branch of the Sforza family that resides in Rome.
- Patrons [Sgira.org]
- The Sforzas [Oxfordartonline.com]
- Sforza Family Beginnings [Palazzosforzacesarini.it]
- Feature Picture [Wikimedia]