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The Este Family

The Family Tree of the Estensi.

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Obizzo IIObizzo II d'Este
(1247c. - 1293)
Aldobrandino II Aldobrandino II
(died in 1326)
Obizzo III Obizzo III was born on 14 July 1294, his father was Aldobrandino II and his mother Alda di Tobia Rangoni. After having participated in 1324 in the Ghibelline League. Against Pope John XX, Obizzo obtained confirmation and the investiture
of all the possessions and lands subjected to Estense dominion. In 1334 he was called to Ferrara to take over its government in place of his brother Rinaldo, busy with the siege of Argenta. After Rinaldo's death, Obizzo had, indeed already taken over the final decision-making, in the government of the Estense household and its dominions. Until the time of his death, on 20 march 1352, after a serious illness, he continued basically with his same old policy: good relations with the Holy See, the Visconti and the Scaligeri families and with Bologna. Obizzo III was one of the most well-loved princes the house of Este gave to the Ferrarese people, But he was also one of the shrewdest reformers with regard to institutional aspects. In fact, it was he who brought about institutional changes
that would have developments of vast importance in the organisation of the future political-administrative structures of the Estense “State”.
The first coins minted by the Este family date back to his dukedom. In fact, he minted the first coin in 1346 with his own wording on it.
It was this act which in fact gave Obizzo a princely control over the economic institutions of the city. His first marriage was to Giacoma di Romeo Pepoli and his second to Lippa Ariosti.
Nicolò II Nicolò II
Born in 1338 and known as the 'cripple' due to an infirmity that arose from having gout, he succeeded his brother upon the latter's death in 1361. He tried to consolidate his position with respect to the other Po Valley states by marrying Verde della Scala from Verona and also by arranging marriages for brothers, sisters and nephews with members of the Gonzaga, Da Polenta and Malatesta families. In 1376, drawing benefit from the war of the "Eight Saints", he acquired the city of Lugo. He also took possession of Bagnacavallo and Cotignola thus assuming a position of great strength in Romagna. In 1385, he extended his dominion of Veneto territory conquering Conselice Castle and Zangonara Castle. But along with so many successes, Nicolò had to face up to grave misfortunes such as floods, droughts and plagues within his own city. All episodes that brought Ferrara to its knees. The city was already heavily overburdened when, in 1385, taxation was heavily increased. On 3rd May the people revolted, invaded the Court Chancellery and killed Ferrara's tax chief. The episode signalled to Nicolò the danger of the situation and the consequent need to improve defence. It led him to the decision to build an impregnable castle as a defence against the people. The Castello di San Michele, which came to be known as "Castelvecchio", was built under the direction of the architect Bartolino Ploti da Novara and according to Werner L. Gundesheimer represents the first great monument of Renaissance architecture in Ferrara, even though it appears to be totally medieval at least from the outside. Nicolò died on 26 May 1388. During his long dominion he transformed Ferrara from a swampy, unhealthy place into a clean city with paved streets, admirable stone buildings, fortresses and towers. At the same time he improved the institutional and administrative structure of the court and in 1381 introduced the "Ferrarese Marchesana lira", more an official coin of state than a coin for everyday use as currency.
Alberto Alberto V
With his brothers Aldobrandino III, Nicolò II and Ugo dead, from 1370 it fell to him to assume full government control in Ferrara. He was pious, lenient and studious and would leave a trace of this last quality by founding the University of Ferrara.In 1391 he travelled to Rome in an attempt to reconquer the Pope's trust in him after his participation in Giangaleazzo Visconti's League against the Carraresi family from Padua. Pope Boniface IX, glad of this homage allowed him all the privileges he requested including the legitimation of his son Nicolò. The debts that the Este family had with the church were also cancelled, their investiture as Papal vicars was renewed and they were accorded the right to open a university at Ferrara with the same rights as those accorded to the Universities of Bologna and Paris. This “Studium” man from Ferrara was granted the right to institute any sacred or profane faculty as well as the right to grant doctoral degrees by hand of the bishop. Alberto, conscious of the economic and military limitations of his state compared with the overwhelming power of others, began to dream of his city as a centre of rebirth that would impress and dazzle with its splendour and magnificence setting up policies that would be followed for a long time to come by his successors. And so a series of works that were to change the face of the city: he paved the main squares, built churches and convents and began to construct the palace known as the Palazzo del Paradiso, the first floor of the del Palazzo di Schifanoia and the Delizia di Belfiore.He died on the 30 August 1393.
Nicolò III Nicolò III

Born on 9 November 1383. He took over from Alberto V immediately after the latter's death. He found himself at the head of the Estense state whose dominions at that time, as well as Ferrara, included Modena, Adria, Comacchio, Rovigo and various possessions in Romagna. In 1394 he married Gigliola, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Francesco Novello da Carrara. On 18 October 1402 Nicolò reopened the University of Ferrara and hired staff that included Antonio da Budrio, Giovanni da Imola and Pietro d'Ancarano. He entered the conflict between Paduans and Venetians, with the aim of reconquering the Polesine of Rovigo, held by the Serenissima, but after a series of defeats he was forced to cede it once and for all along with Este under the treaty of 25 May 1405.

In 1412, he sponsored the opening of the "Studium" at Parma and began the construction of the tower of Ferrara Cathedral. Two years after the death of Gigliola, he married, in 1418, Laura Malatesta, called Parisina, even though by that time he had had a relationship for years with Stella dei Tolomei, known as Stella dell'Assassino or Stella dell'Asisino who gave him the children that would write the most tragic and most beautiful pages in the history of the Estense household: Ugo, Leonello and Borso. Ugo fell in love with Parisina and their lovers' relationship was discovered by Nicolò. The two lovers were condemned to death and were beheaded on the night of 21 May 1425 in the castle dungeons.In 1429 he married Ricciarda di Saluzzo who gave him Ercole and Sigismondo; the former would, when his time came, replace Leonello and Borso. Nicolò's intense diplomatic activity earned for the Estense State a role of primary importance in the political framework of the Italian States; so much so that Ferrara would become the seat of the Council. On 26 December 1441 his life came to end suddenly, due to the administration of a poison. Nicolò was an able and sagacious politician with a capacity for steering his course through the court intrigues and bitter rivalries between the States of his time. Anticipating the Renaissance splendour of the court he became protector to a greater or lesser degree of all the arts; from music to illumination, to watchmaking, goldsmith's art, needlework and tapestry weaving. Hence, from Tuscany, came the miniators Giovanni Falconi and Jacopino and artists such as Pisanello and Brunelleschi stayed at Ferrara who gave advice concerning the construction of the Palazzo di Belriguardo destined to become the Versailles of the Estense household. Starting with his reign, Ferrara became one of the most prestigious capitals of the Italian Renaissance.

Ugo Ugo
(1405 - 1425)
Meliaduse Meliaduse
(born in 1406)
Leonello Leonello d'Este
He succeeded his father Nicolò III upon the latter's death.
A prince enlightened in politics, refined and an art lover, he started up a distinguished group of humanists, whose names include maestro Guarino da Verona, Angelo Decembrio and Leon Battista Alberti.
In 1435 he married Margherita Gonzaga.
In 1444 he married Maria of Aragon.

Borso Borso d'Este
He succeeded his brother Leonello. He was a man of action, an able soldier, ambitious and a shrewd statesman. In 1471 he earned the title of Duke for his family. He never stopped working to sustain the economy above all through land reclamation work on the Ferrarese territory, which was for the most part swampy and unproductive. He supported the University and the arts are the realisation of the famous pictorial cycle of the months in the Delizia di Schifanoia and that of the extraordinary illuminated work known as Borso's Bible.
Ercole I Ercole I, Duke d'Este
Son of Nicolò III and Ricciarda da Saluzzo, he spent time at the Aragonese court of Naples, from 1445 to 1460, where he received a satisfactory military and chivalric education. In 1473 he married Eleonora of Aragon with whom he had three children: Alfonso, the famous Isabella and Beatrice. A shrewd matrimonial policy wove important alliances for the Estense court, Alfonso firstly married Anna Sforza and when he was left a widower, Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Isabella was married to Francesco. Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua and Beatrice was married to Ludovico Sforza known as il Moro. During his reign, Ercole found himself fighting the Venetians (1482-1484) putting up resistance to their southerly expansion. The war came to an end with the peace treaty of Bagnolo (1484) which ratified the the house of Este's loss of the Polesine. It was his far-sightedness which gave us the vast extension of the city walls, the so-called Addizione Erculea, which, commissioned to the great architect Biagio Rossetti, radically changed the appearance of the city. In a few years, in which construction sites for the building of city walls, palaces, roads, squares and convents, the city doubled in size and from a small medieval town arose a Renaissance town-planning gem. The castle, already the residence of the Duke's family, now found itself at the centre of the city, a massive reference point visible from all points of the urban fabric, and the changes that would lead it to function almost exclusively as a court residence were started. Ercole, an enthusiast of sacred and polyphonic music, swept in a new era in Ferrarese music, competing with the most important courts: Naples, Milan and, more than anywhere else, the Pontificate to attract the best composers and musicians. As well as live music, he had an interest for the theatre. In fact, he introduced works with profane themes and with impressive scenery that earned him consensus among his subjects and men of culture. Ercole I died in 1505, but not without having designated his successor, his son Alfonso.
Sigismondo Sigismondo
(1433 - 1507)
Francesco Francesco
(nasce nel 1444)
Isabella Isabella
Daughter of Ercole I d'Este and Eleonora of Aragon, Isabella was born in Ferrara in 1474. Educated by Battista Guarini, the son of the Humanist Guarino at the Este court, she organised celebrations and representations, controlled artists, female poets and literary men and women. The Studiolo (Small Study) and the Grotta in the Ducal Palace of Ferrara, splendidly ornate rooms, were her glorious monuments. For this and other projects, she conceived the allegorical sketches, in consultation with her Humanistic advisors. A woman of great intelligence, taste and love of the arts, Isabella d'Este became the Lady of Mantua in 1490 when she married Francesco Gonzaga. the relationship with her husband was not so much sentimental as diplomatic. In fact, her role was chiefly that of 'advisor' in political decisions and she was always trying to remedy the mistakes he committed. Her great ambition of being able to govern Mantua was realized
in 1509 when the Venetians captured her husband. During her government, Mantua lived through a period of great splendour. Isabella also showed herself to be ambitious in her passion for art. She had Mantegna, who frequented the court of the Gonzaga house, paint for her The Death of the Virgin, the Madonna della Vittoria, the Parnassus, the Expulsion of Vices, the Triumph of Caesar and the Death of Christ. Thanks to her competence and knowledge in the artistic field she also managed to obtain from Pope Alexander VI the Cupid by Praxiteles and the royal French canopy from her sister Beatrice. As well as artists, Isabella also surrounded herself with musicians and actors.
When she was widowed, she devoted all her efforts to building the ecclesiastical career of her son Ercole, moving to Rome where she died in 1539.

Duchess of Milan. Daughter of the duke of Ferrara Ercole I d'Este and Eleonora of Aragon, in 1491 she married Ludovico il Moro. She was never very involved in politics, even after her husband took over the dukedom (1495), but she was the undisputed mistress of the Milanese and as such overshadowed Isabella of Aragon. What stood out about her were her clothes, the pomp, the parties and the luxury in her life. A great lover of the arts, especially music she personified the Renaissance ideal of an Italian princess. Graceful, but also very proud, she could never tolerate rivals and had her husband's lovers sent away from court. But when she failed with Lucrezia Crivelli, she decided to retire to private life.

Alfonso I

Alfonso I

He succeeded his father Ercole in 1505; his first marriage was to Anna Sforza and his second to Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI. Under his rule the dukedom made headway and made undeniable development due both to a series of political events that saw it involved, in among other things, wars against Venice (1505) and battles
against the Julius II's papal army, but it was also due to an artistic and cultural growth. He in fact continued the renovation work on the castle-palace already undertaken by his father and supported by the court architect Biagio Rossetti. He modernised the apartment that had belonged to the Duchess, built other wings and rooms onto the castle, completed the grand Ducal Kitchens and modernised and extended for himself the apartment-study that was his father's, on the Via Coperta, realizing that small but precious residential quarter called the Golden or Alabaster Study, a decorative blueprint created with the help of the greatest artists of that time, from Ferrara and elsewhere: Titian, the Dossi brothers, Antonio Lombardi, Raffaello Sanzio, Giovanni Bellini and others.


Giulio (1478-1561)
Giulio, Alfonso's more handsome and more wayward brother and Cardinal Ippolito were divided by deep resentment. At first, the two were very close and often took part in gallant adventures and parties. They began to loathe each other for trivial motives. What set one against the other for good was the love they both felt for the same maid of honour, the beautiful Angela Borgia, Lucrezia's cousin. The young girl openly declared her preference for Giulio and this unleashed the wrath of the revengeful cardinal who tried to have him killed but only managed to wound him. The deep resentment that Giulio felt for Ippolito from that moment drew him towards another brother, Ferrante, who had cherished ambitions with regard to the throne. The two came to an understanding that the duke and the cardinal would have to be eliminated and preparations were made. But the secret came out and the plot was discovered: names and blames emerged, Ferrante himself confessed. In September 1506 a trial for lese-majesty and high treason was held and, as expected, the death sentence was passed, but just as Ferrante and Giulio were about to mount the gallows they were informed that the duke had commuted their sentence to life imprisonment. They were led away to two cells in the Torre dei Leoni. Ferrante died in his cell after a long imprisonment, while Giulio held on until he was pardoned in 1559.
Ippolito I Ippolito I d'Este
The third son of Duke Ercole I and Eleonora of Aragon, he was born in Ferrara in 1479 and straight from birth was destined to enter the church: at the age of 7 he was nominated archbishop of Strigonia in Hungary; at 14 he was made a cardinal and at 17 archbishop of Milan. he took an active part in the policies of this brother-in-law Ludovico il Moro and followed him into exile after the French invasion. In 1505, jealousy drove him to attempt to have his illegitimate brother Giulio blinded, who to avenge himself spun a plot along with Ferrante, Ercole I's second son, against the duke and the cardinal. In 1509 Ippolito fought in the wars against Venice and then defended Ferrara against Julius II. In 1510, he illicitly had himself invested as commendatory abbot by the monks of Nonantola. He struck an ambiguous alliance with the French, support with them the dismissal of the pope, without cutting off all possibilities of reconciliation with the Holy See. Protector of the arts, it is to him that Orlando Enraged (L’Orlando Furioso) is dedicated. He died in 1520, just after his fortieth birthday.
Ercole II Ercole II
The dukedom passed into his hands on the death of his father Alfonso and his marriage (1528) to Renée of France, the daughter of King Louis XII, reinforced the alliance with the French king against the Pope. Despite the financial difficulties of the State, due to enormous military expenditure, Ercole sponsored a great deal of extension and decoration work on the castle. He had several rooms decorated with paintings and frescoes, both to complete the decorative cycles set out by his father and also to his own original ideas commissioning the execution to artists such as Battista Dossi, Tommaso da Carpi, Tommaso da Treviso, Garofalo, Camillo Filippi and Girolamo da Carpi. In particular Ercole turned his attention to sectors of the building dedicated to a new high-ranking residential and representative function, especially the Salone del Governo (Government Room) and the apartment of Santa Caterina Tower, which became the object of a decorative cycle that was hinged on the so-called Camera della Pazienza with excellent works by Camillo Filippi and Girolamo da Carpi.
Ippolito II d’Este
He was born in Ferrara in 1509. As the cadet son of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara, Reggio and Modena and the grandson of Pope Alexander VI, he was destined to follow an ecclesiastical career and was baptized with the same name as his uncle, the cardinal Ippolito. In 1519, he received the lower orders and was started off on a career as a bishop: until 1525, he had as his tutors Celio Calcagnini and Fulvio Pellegrino Morato. From 1536 to 1539, he lived in France, where he began to earn a reputation for what would later make him famous: his patronage. On 20th December 1538 he was made deacon cardinal at the personal request of the king of France. An impassioned patron of architecture, in Ferrara he had the palaces of Belfiore (inherited from his father) and San Francesco redecorated and partly rebuilt, in France he commissioned Sebastiano Serlio to build a small but luxurious palace at Fontainebleau; the tapestries were woven to patterns by Giulio Romano and the frescoes were the work of Primaticcio and Niccolò Abbati. In 1549, he moved from France to Rome and Girolamo da Carpi and Pirro Lagorio began working for him. In 1550, he was appointed governor of Tivoli by Pope Julius III. Ippolito had probably already made plans to build a grand villa outside of Rome, because work started immediately. Ippolito's patronage was also of major importance for the music of that era: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina entered his service in 1567 remaining until 1571, but his organization of the summer musical performances at Villa d’Este started in 1564. Ippolito died on 1st December 1572 and was buried at Tivoli in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Francesco Francesco d'Este (1516-1572)
Son of Alfonso d'Est

Alfonso d'Este Montecchio (1527-1587)
Son of Alfonso d'Este

Bradamante (muore nel 1624)
Francesco d'Este, Marquis of Massalombarda, had no legitimate heirs, only two daughters born out of wedlock, Marfisa and Bradamante. Bradamante was wed to Count Ercole Bevilacqua and lived a quiet life, apart from the scandal that involved her husband and the beautiful Anna Guarini, the wife of Count Trotti. The scandal was so great that the duke had to intervene to silence it. Bradamante left Ferrara, to follow the new duke Cesare to Modena.
Marfisa Marfisa d'Este (1554-1608)
Francesco d'Este, Marquis of Massalombarda, had no legitimate heirs, only two daughters born out of wedlock, Marfisa and Bradamante. Marfisa was cultured like all the princesses in the family; she had an unusual charm and also had a reputation for being a rebel. Marfisa was of a restless nature, was whimsical and loved dancing and having a good time; she was undoubtedly at the centre of court life. On 5 May 1578 she married her cousin Alfonsino, the son of Alfonso di Montecchio; the marriage did not last long because he died after only three months. Marfisa continued life as before and a couple of years later in 1580 married Alderano Cyho, the crown prince of Massa and Carrara. It was a very successful marriage: the two were hardly ever part, he moved to Ferrara where they had seven children and on made many manifestations of their love for one another.
In 1598, she refused to leave Ferrara to follow the rest of the family and with her husband continued to live in the palazzina she had inherited from her father. She refused to pay homage to the pope, the new lord and master of Ferrara, when he came to visit the city. During her later years and before her death, in 1608, she earned the fondness and recognition of many, especially for her increasing activity in favour of charity.
Anna Anna d’Este
Anna d'Este was born on 16 November 1531. her father was Ercole II d'Este (who became duke of Ferrara in 1534) and her mother Renée, daughter of Louis XII of France. She received a very thorough education. She studied music, singing, dance, history and the history of painting. On 15 September 1548, she married Luis de Bourbon, the Duke of Vendome with whom she had a son by the name of Henri. In 1566, after Luis' death, she married Jacques de Savoie, the Duke of Nemours. In 1577 she had a son by the name of Luigi who died of an illness in 1585. In 1588 her son Henri was stabbed at Blos by Henry III's hired cut-throats. In 1594 Anna travelled to Paris to pay homage to Henry IV (a great friend of hers). She died on 17 May 1607.
Alfonso II Alfonso II
He succeeded his father Ercole II, who upon his death left the running of the dukedom to his son. Despite three marriages to Lucrezia de' Medici, Barbara of Austria and Margherita Gonzaga he was unable to guarantee the male line of succession.
To discourage the designs of the Papal States and avoid the end of the house of Este, Alfonso tried several things including taking part in the Crusade against the Turks, making a vain claim to the succession of the throne in Poland; taking part in battles and diplomatic negotiations with the Pope at various levels. The dukedom was economic exhausted by all these fruitless exploits and by a disastrous earthquake that struck the city in 1570. The castle was badly damaged and Alfonso ordered its repair along with the realisation of an interesting decorative cycle that we can still see in the apartment known as theAppartamento dello Specchio (Mirror Apartment). His death in 1597 without a legitimate heir and not even a successor recognised by the Church, forced the Este family to abandon the city of Ferrara and their princely residence, the castle, in 1598, for a forced move to their seat in the neighbouring dukedom of Modena. Notes: Bibliographical References: M. Borella, Il Castello Estense, Viterbo 2001.
Lucrezia Lucrezia d'Este (1535-1598)
The third child of Ercole II and Renée of France, she grew up in the difficult but culturally stimulating environment created by the simultaneous presence of two courts in the same city. Cultured and refined she was the prima donna of the Estense court for years. At the beginning of 1570 reasons of state dictated her marriage to the heir of Urbino, Francesco Maria della Rovere. The prince, thirteen years younger than her, was literally forced to accept a marriage he found repugnant. The princess had to accept being dragged by her husband in a humiliating fashion to the court of Pesaro. Every time she had a chance to return to Ferrara, she would stay there as long as she could. During these stays she fell in love with Count Ercole Contrari, with whom she had a secret and difficult love story. When Alfonso II found out about it, he thought it his duty to silence the disgraceful scandal and on 2nd August 1575 he had the count killed. A few years later Lucrezia decided never to go back to Francesco Maria and began the process of asking the Holy See for a separation. Finally, in 1578, Gregory XIII decreed that the marriage could not be annulled but that Lucrezia would be allowed to live the rest of her days in Ferrara separated from her husband. Once back in Ferrara, Lucrezia was able to live quietly and devoted herself to the spiritual life. In 1580, she founded an institution for women who had suffered violence from their husbands. Lucrezia also devoted herself to politics and when her brother died, she became the leader of the faction that plotted to foster the devolution of Ferrara. Lucrezia died leaving her collections to Cardinal Aldobrandini, the pope's nephew, the man who had taken possession of Ferrara, driving out the house of Este for ever. By order of the cardinal the princess was given a solemn funeral in the cathedral.
Eleonora Eleonora (1537-1581)
Sister of Alfonso II
Luigi d'Este
In 1584 he was nominated protector of the canon regulars of San Giorgio in Alga and prince of the cardinal deacons. Relations with Pope Sixtus V were not good due to the affair concerning the war of religion in France. Steps taken by the pope brought relations between the Estense household and Sixtus V to their lowest point. In May 1572, Pope Pius V's death meant Luigi d'Este had to leave Paris. However, he did not take part in the conclave. After a stopover in Ferrara he reached Rome in June 1572 to pay homage to the new pontiff. On 23 February 1573, he obtained the mandate under which he was granted the title of Protector of The Papal Crown. He died in his Roman residence on 30th December 1586. Luigi d'Este bequeathed his entire estate to his brother Alfonso who relinquished the inheritance in favour of Cesare d'Este. His dying wish was for his body to be buried in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi and his heart in France.
Cesare Cesare d'Este
Son of Alfonso di Montecchio, who was a cousin of Alfonso II d'Este, it was the latter, from 1595, that suggested him as successor to the government of Ferrara. Alfonso's death on 27 October 1597 marked the start of the dispute with Pope Clement VIII, who demanded the city return under his jurisdiction because the last duke had produced no male heirs. The Empire recognised his legitimate right to the dukedom as far as Modena and Reggio were concerned. Among the nobility and the courtiers was a group of dissidents and agitators, which looking to the duchess Lucrezia (the duke's sister) who sided with the pope for support, gradually got the upper hand. Many patrician families began to leave the city; the pope quickly concentrated thirty thousand men at Faenza. One of the most serious betrayals for Cesare came from the Duke of Mantua who after promises of help took up a position against him and called his sister back to Mantua. His remaining hopes of resistance were shaken and by this time abandoned by all he decided to negotiate, sending a representative to the field at Faenza. Betrayed and crestfallen the last Estense retired to his imperial feuds of Modena and Reggio with the title of the Duke of Modena. On the twenty-ninth of January 1598, Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, nominated Legate by the Pope, entered Ferrara and Lucrezia negotiated the handover of the city to the Church. Cesare died in 1628.
Alessandro Alessandro d’Este:
The legitimated natural son of Alfonso d'Este, he was born in Ferrara on 5 May 1568. He was half-brother to Cesare, future dike of Modena and Reggio. On 7 April 1587, he took the decision to enter the clergy to help the schemes of Estense diplomacy, which aimed to get the pope to make him a cardinal. He was finally promoted to the sought-after rank on 3 March 1599 by Pope Clement VIII, the person responsible for Ferrara's devolution, who in this way wished to compensate the Estense household in part for the loss of the city. Very lenient towards religious orders, he was the protector of the regular Theatine clerics and a fervent supporter of their actions. Besides his intense religious activity Alessandro continued in his support for the Estense dukedom consolidating political-diplomatic consensus around his brother Cesare who succeeded Alfonso II in 1597. In 1621, he was nominated bishop of Reggio. In his very short time in charge of the cathedral in 1622 he donated to it the relics of Saints Aurelian and Aurea. Appointed governor of Tivoli 1605 by Paul V he had a long and bitter struggle with the cardinal deacon T. Galli who wanted to take possession of Villa d'Este which was assigned to the house of Este for good in 1621. Alessandro died in Rome on 13 March 1624.
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