Ginevra Sforza

Ginevra Sforza (1440 – 16 May 1507) was the wife and counselor of Giovanni II Bentivoglio, lord of Bologna.

Ginevra Sforza
Died16 May 1507(1507-05-16) (aged 66–67)
Known forIllegitimate daughter of Alessandro Sforza, lord of Pesaro
(m. 1454; died 1463)

(m. 1464)

Birth and first marriageEdit

Ginevra Sforza was born in Ancona in 1440, the illegitimate daughter of Alessandro Sforza, Lord of Pesaro. She married Sante Bentivoglio, a cousin of Giovanni II Bentivoglio, on 19 May 1454 at the church of San Giacomo Maggiore.[1] Her first husband gave her two children:

Second marriageEdit

In 1463 Ginevra became a widow, and a year later married Giovanni II Bentivoglio, becoming among other things, his counsellor.[2] Probably a relationship already existed between the two.[3] Ginevra gave her husband sixteen children, of whom five died in infancy. The others were:

Bentivoglio family by Lorenzo Costa

Ginevra befriended Gentile Budrioli, wife of the notary Alessandro Cimieri and student at the University of Bologna, who was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake in 1498.[2]

In 1466 Pope Paul II acknowledged the lordship of Giovanni II and gave him the papal vicariate of Bologna.[2] After facing a conspiracy by the Malvezzi family in 1488, in 1501 the Bentivoglio discovered another conspiracy organized by the rival family of Marescotti. On the advice of Ginevra, many family members were killed in revenge.[1]

Exile and deathEdit

In 1505 the conspirators who had escaped the carnage petitioned Pope Julius II, who ordered Giovanni II to leave the city with his family. Ginevra, exiled in Parma, where she had taken refuge with the Marquis Pallavicini, was excommunicated because she had not gone far enough from Bologna.[2] Julius II refused to reverse the excommunication, despite numerous pleas, or to return the castle of Ponte Poledrano (now Castello di Bentivoglio), of which he had taken possession. The Bentivoglio properties in Bologna were looted and the Palazzo Bentivoglio was razed.

Ginevra died on 16 May 1507 and her body was buried in a common grave near Busseto.[2] Giovanni II died the next year.

Notes and referencesEdit



  • "Ginevra e Gentile". Accademia Culturale "Castelli in Aria". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  • "La storia dei Bentivoglio". Istituto Comprensivo di Ozzano dell'Emilia - Bologna. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  • Samoggia, Sandro (2013). "Giovanni II, il Principe di Bologna". Mia Bologna. Retrieved 2013-01-14.