In a pair of novellas newly translated from the Italian, Elena and Michela Martignoni portray one of the most passionate – and forbidden – love affairs of all time, between Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander VI) and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei.
THE LUSTFUL YOUTH OF RODRIGO BORGIA ~ Called to Rome with his brother at seventeen, the hot-blooded Rodrigo Borgia seeks lessons in love from noblewomen and prostitutes, and wealth and power through collusion with cardinals, prelates, and the Roman nobility. He is driven, self-possessed, and carnal to the extreme. But an unexpected passion threatens to become his undoing . . .
RODRIGO BORGIA'S ROSE ~ A woman lies waiting for a new lover. Covered with nothing but rose petals, her body is exposed for pleasure: his and hers. The woman is Vannozza Cattanei, long-time mistress of a pope, matriarch of the Borgias, and a savvy 15th century businesswoman. In this fictionalized, first-person novella, Vannozza courageously explores the full spectrum of human experience from intense passion to profound despair that was her life in tumultuous times.