VATICAN CITY -- Their lives steeped in intrigue, treason and lust, and set against a backdrop of luscious Italian landscapes and Renaissance masterpieces, the Borgias are probably the most famous -- or infamous -- family in the long history of the papacy.
Now, a new Italian book wants to dispel, at least in part, the “black legend” surrounding a dynasty that bore two popes as well as cardinals, poets, and warriors.
Journalist and historian Mario Dal Bello drew on documents from the Vatican Secret Archive to write his new book, I Borgia: La leggenda nera, or The Borgias: The Black Legend.
For five centuries, the Borgias have attracted writers, painters and playwrights. They have been the subject of hundreds of movies and TV productions, most recently Showtime's popular series, The Borgias.
“It's easy to understand why: sex, blood, poison, power,"" Dal Bello said. "This is already fiction material."