Anna Sforza

Anna Maria Sforza (21 July 1476 – 30 November 1497) was a Hereditary Princess of Ferrara as the first wife of Alfonso I d'Este, future Duke of Ferrara. She was the second legitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, by his second wife, Bona of Savoy.

Anna Maria Sforza
Hereditary Princess of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio
Tenure12 January 1491 – 30 November 1497
Born21 July 1476
Died30 November 1497(1497-11-30) (aged 21)
SpouseAlfonso I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara
FatherGaleazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
MotherBona of Savoy


Born in Milan, she was the second daughter and last legitimate child of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, by his second wife, Bona of Savoy. Anna's paternal grandparents were Francesco I Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, for whom she was named. She had two older brothers: Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Hermes Maria Sforza, Marquis of Tortona, and a sister, Bianca Maria Sforza, second wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.

When Anna was five months old, her father was assassinated inside the Church of Santo Stefano in Milan on 26 December 1476, which was the Feast Day of St. Stephen. He was stabbed to death by three high-ranking officials of the Milanese court.

In 1477, Anna was formally betrothed to the heir of Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara. Her wedding with Prince Alfonso d'Este took place fourteen years later, on 12 January 1491, amidst banquets, receptions, and theatrical representations. However, the marriage was unhappy: blonde and without femininity, Anna, all her time dressed like a man, refused to consummate her union, preferred the company of women and spent every night with a small black slave.[1]

Only after six years of marriage, Anna finally became pregnant, but died in childbirth; while some sources reported that her child, a son, died immediately after being baptized; others,[2][3][4][5] said that he survived and was named Alessandro, dying in 1514 aged 17. She was buried in the monastery of San Vito, of which Anna was a benefactor. Her husband was unable to take part of her funeral because at that time his face was disfigured as a consequence of syphilis.[6]

Her death marked the end of the bond between the Sforza and Este families. Alfonso remarried, to Lucrezia Borgia, in 1502.


  1. Geneviève Chastenet: Lucrezia Borgia (Spanish version) 1995, Javier Vergara Editorial, p. 200. [retrieved 19 December 2014].
  2. Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Este". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  3. Alessandro d'Este in: [retrieved 17 December 2014].
  4. Alessandro d'Este in: [retrieved 17 December 2014].
  5. Alessandro d'Este in: Genealogy Database by Herbert Stoyan Archived December 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine [retrieved 17 December 2014].
  6. Sarah Bradford, Lucrezia Borgia, Milano, Mondadori, 2005.
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