Paola Malatesta

Paola Agnese Malatesta (1393 — 28 February 1449) also Paola of Mantua was an Italian noblewoman of the noble family House of Malatesta, rulers of Rimini and Pesaro.[1] She was born in Pesaro in 1393 to Malatesta IV Malatesta, lord of Pesaro and Fossombrone, and Elisabetta da Varano. On 22 August 1409 she married Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, leader of Mantua, in Pesaro. She was the first Marquesa of Mantua after her husband received the title.[2] Paola had six children and introduced the genetic disease of kyphosis to the Gonzaga family which showed in subsequent generations.[1][3]

Paola Agnese Malatesta
Marquesa of Mantua
Paola Malatesta.jpg
Coat of armsBlasone Malatesta.svg
Reign1409 - 25 September 1444
PredecessorMargherita Malatesta
SuccessorBarbara of Brandenburg
Born1393 (1393)
Died(1449-02-28)February 28, 1449
Noble familyHouse of Malatesta
FatherMalatesta IV Malatesta
MotherElisabetta da Varano

She was known as a pious, dignified[1] and keen woman and played a significant role in the Gonzaga court. Paola greatly influenced Mantuan culture by encouraging her husband to bring Vittorino da Feltre to Mantua to tutor their children. Vittorino was an early humanist scholar.[1] At the request of Bernardino da Siena, who visited her in 1418,[4] she built the Church of Saint Paola with an adjoining convent in Mantua around 1420 for the Franciscan Poor Clare Nuns.[5][6] She retired to the convent after her husband's death in 1444.

Paola died in Mantua in 1449 and was interred in the convent of Santa Paola in monastic habit per her wishes. She is a saint in the Franciscan martyrology.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d Donald C. Sanders (2012). Music at the Gonzaga Court in Mantua. Lanham: Lexington Books. pp. 16–17.
  2. ^ a b "Paola Malatesta". Treccani.
  3. ^ Costantino Cipolla; Giancarlo Malacarne (2006). Amore e sesso al tempo dei Gonzaga. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  4. ^ "Bernardino da Siena". Dizionario Treccani.
  5. ^ "Archivio di Stato di Milano. Convento di Sant'Orsola". Retrieved December 26, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Istituti Santa Paola Mantova". Retrieved December 26, 2011.


  • Adelaide Murgia (1972). I Gonzaga. Milan: Mondadori.
  • Roberto Brunelli (2010). I Gonzaga. Quattro secoli per una dinastia. Mantua.
  • Anna Falcioni (2007). Dizionario Biografico degli Italia. 68. Treccani.