Laura Malatesta (1404 – 21 May 1425), better known as Parisina Malatesta, was the daughter of Andrea Malatesta, lord of Cesena, and his second wife, Lucrezia Ordelaffi. She had an affair with her bastard stepson Ugo d'Este, and both were beheaded by her husband, Marquis Niccolò III d'Este of Ferrara.
She married Niccolò III d'Este, Marquis of Ferrara, in Ravenna in 1418, whose first wife Gigliola da Carrara died a few years before and was welcomed by a Ferrara ravaged by plague. She resided in the tower of the Rigobello's in rooms under the library and reorganized her new home. Parisina's dwelling was also the Delizia di Consandolo, built by Nicholò.
During a trip in 1424 in which she intended to visit her family, Parisina was accompanied according to her husband's wishes by Ugo d'Este, son of Nicholò and one of his lovers Stella de 'Tolomei. The two young people had an opportunity to get to know each other in Ravenna and became lovers. The relationship went on secretly also when they were back in Ferrara: the two lovers met in the delizie di Belfiore, Fossadalbero e Quartesana.
Her tragic story has inspired writers and musicians. The Renaissance Italian author Matteo Bandello wrote the novel Ugo and Parisina.
Edward Gibbon told this story in his Miscellaneous Works, and George Byron wrote the poem Parisina in 1816. A libretto by Felice Romani after the English poem was set to music by Gaetano Donizetti in 1833 as Parisina. Pietro Mascagni composed a tragic opera Parisina based on the lyric tragedy written by Gabriele D'Annunzio in 1912 as another adaptation of Byron's poem.
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