The Tigress of Forli
Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici
By Elizabeth Lev
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151012992, 336pp.)
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
List Price: $27.00*
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"A rich, nuanced portrait of a highly controversial beauty and military leader, and her violent albeit glittering Italian Renaissance milieu."--"Publishers Weekly"
A strategist to match Machiavelli; a warrior who stood toe to toe with the Borgias; a wife whose three marriages would end in bloodshed and heartbreak; and a mother determined to maintain her family's honor, Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici was a true Renaissance celebrity, beloved and vilified in equal measure. In this dazzling biography, Elizabeth Lev illuminates her extraordinary life and accomplishments.
Raised in the court of Milan and wed at age ten to the pope's corrupt nephew, Caterina was ensnared in Italy's political intrigues early in life. After turbulent years in Rome's papal court, she moved to the Romagnol province of Forli. Following her husband's assassination, she ruled Italy's crossroads with iron will, martial strength, political savvy, and an icon's fashion sense. In finally losing her lands to the Borgia family, she put up a resistance that inspired all of Europe and set the stage for her progeny--including Cosimo de' Medici--to follow her example to greatness.
A rich evocation of Renaissance life, "The Tigress of Forli" reveals Caterina Riario Sforza as a brilliant and fearless ruler, and a tragic but unbowed figure.
ELIZABETH LEV is a scholar of Renaissance art and culture and professor of Art History in Rome, where she lives with her family. This is her first book.