In 1518 an Italian princess is married away. She must leave behind Vigevano, her family’s ducal seat in Italy, just across the river from Milan. The princess blossomed here, at the epicenter of the renaissance, felt the seismic tremors of it radiating outward across Europe. She’s been studying mathematics, law, literature, history, Latin, theology, geography, science, music, more—and now she must travel far away—far from the blue-green banks of the Ticino and its wooded waterfalls, far from the rugged snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps, far from her teachers, famous Italian humanist philosophers, and far from her family’s court, which commissions Leonardo Da Vinci to paint The Last Supper in their family cathedral.
Her name is Bona Sforza. She is to be the second wife of Polish King Sigismund I the Old. She is smart and unafraid. She is going to bring Italy, and the Renaissance, with her to Kraków.
Witch!—the whispers of it haunt her court. Witch!—it digs clawed, resentful fingers into her reformation attempts. Witch! Witch! Witch!—Bona Sforza bears the yoke, undaunted. She is Queen, after all. She has King Sigismund in her pocket. The Renaissance comes to Poland.
With smooth strokes I drag my… Read more »