Isabella d'Este

Major + Patron + Poet
Born May 18, 1474

Isabella d'Este was Marchesa of Mantua and one of the leading women of the Italian Renaissance as a major cultural and political figure. She was a patron of the arts as well as a leader of fashion, whose innovative style of dressing was copied by women throughout Italy and at the French court. The poet Ariosto lauded her as the "liberal and magnanimous Isabella", while author Matteo Bandello described her as having been "supreme among women".… Read More

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1474 Birth She was born on Tuesday 19 May 1474 at nine o'clock in the evening in Ferrara, to Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and Eleanor of Naples. … Read More
1475 1 Year Old One year later on 29 June 1475 her sister Beatrice was born, and in 1476 and 1477 two brothers, Alfonso and Ippolito arrived. … Read More
1480 6 Years Old She was described as having been physically attractive, albeit slightly plump; however, she also possessed "lively eyes" and was "of lively grace". In 1480, at the age of six, Isabella was betrothed to Gianfrancesco, the heir to the Marquis of Mantua. … Read More


1490 16 Years Old Ten years later on 11 February 1490, at age 15, she married Francesco Gonzaga, who had by then succeeded to the marquisate. … Read More
1493 19 Years Old Almost four years after her marriage in December 1493, Isabella gave birth to her first child out of an eventual total of eight; it was a daughter, Eleonora, whom they called Leonora for short. … Read More


1502 28 Years Old A year after her marriage to Isabella's brother, Alfonso in 1502, the notorious Lucrezia Borgia became the mistress of Francesco. … Read More


1509 35 Years Old Isabella played an important role in Mantua during the city's troubled times. When her husband was captured in 1509 and held hostage in Venice, she took control of Mantua's military forces and held off their invaders until his release in 1512.
1512 38 Years Old In the same year, 1512, she was the hostess at the Congress of Mantua, which was held to settle questions concerning Florence and Milan. … Read More


1519 45 Years Old As a result, Isabella began to travel freely and live independently from her husband until his death on 19 March 1519. … Read More


1527 53 Years Old Isabella left Mantua for Rome in 1527. … Read More


1539 65 Years Old This was not enough to satisfy Isabella, already in her mid-60s, so she returned to political life and ruled Solarolo, in Romagna until her death on 13 February 1539. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on'Este.
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