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12 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Sforzas

This powerful family played a major role in shaping Milan into the city it is today.

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.

  1. Francesco Sforza I married the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan and eventually declared himself Duke in 1450.

  2. He founded one of the first hospitals in Milan known as Ospedale Maggiore di Milano.

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  3. Ludovico Sforza had Leonardo da Vinci working for him for 18 years. He actually commissioned da Vinci’s Last Supper painting.

  4. Ludovico Sforza lost Milan to King Louis XII of France during the Italian Wars.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Caterina Sforza married into the Medici family later in her life. Her grandson became the second Duke of Florence.
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  8. There is a member of the family named Sforza Sforza.

  9. The family fell out of power in Milan in 1535 with the death of Francesco Sforza II.

  10. Sforza Castle is still standing and is used as a museum and houses several art collections.
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  11. 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.

  12. There is still a current branch of the Sforza family that resides in Rome.

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