Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga

Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga (13 November 1686 16 March 1741) was the Duchess of Rovere and Montefeltro as the wife of Francesco Maria de' Medici. She was the eldest child of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Guastalla and Sabbioneta and his second wife, Maria Vittoria Gonzaga. She did not bear any children.

Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga
Duchess of Rovere and of Montefeltro
Born(1686-11-13)13 November 1686
Guastalla, Duchy of Guastalla
Died16 March 1741(1741-03-16) (aged 54)
Padua, Republic of Venice
SpouseFrancesco Maria de' Medici
Full name
Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga
HouseHouse of Gonzaga
House of Medici
FatherVincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Guastalla
MotherMaria Vittoria Gonzaga


Eleonora Luisa Gonzaga married Francesco Maria de' Medici, Duke of Rovere and Montefeltro (titles inherited from his mother) on 14 July 1709. Her husband was 48 years old and morbidly obese. Before the marriage occurred, Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who instigated the marriage, sent agents to Guastalla to ascertain her physical appearance. They concluded that she had beautiful skin, eyes, mouth, and waist.[1] The House of Medici was desperately wanting in male heirs; Francesco Maria, previously a cardinal, was released from his vows through his brother's action to remedy this.

Eleonora Luisa was repulsed by her husband, refusing to fulfil her marital duties. Despite requisitioning the assistance of her old confessor from Guastalla, Cosimo III could not cajole her into submitting, as she allegedly feared contracting venereal diseases. Francesco Maria had her surmount this predicament and eventually the marriage was consummated. However, no heirs were born and as a result of this, Francesco Maria was devastated.[2]

On 2 February 1711, Francesco Maria died of dropsy, leaving behind exorbitant debts.[3] Eleonora Luisa lingered on at Tuscany's court until the death of her nephew-in-law Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. From there, she ventured to Padua in the Republic of Venice, where she died on 16 March 1741.



  1. Acton, p 246
  2. Acton, p 250
  3. Acton, p 251


  • Acton, Harold: The Last Medici, Macmillan, London, 1980, ISBN 0-333-29315-0
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