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Giulio d'Este (1478 – 1561) was the illegitimate son of Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara.

Giulio d'Este and Cardinal Ippolito, both of them brothers of Alfonso I, held grudges and differences with each other - probably over women - from long ago. Later they were both in love with the same woman, probably Angela Borgia, cousin of the Duchess Lucrezia. This gracious and much-courted maiden granted her preference to Giulio; one day, she publicly affirmed that the eyes alone of her favourite were worth more than the whole person of the Cardinal. Few days later the two brothers met by chance in the countryside near the palazzo of Belriguardo.

Giulio was alone and could do nothing when the Cardinal ordered his servants to seize him, kill him, and pluck out his eyes. The order was not carried out, but Giulio was beaten until he bled, and lost the use of one eye. From that moment he began to plot the death of Ippolito, and to succeed in this joined forces with another brother, Ferrante, who wanted to eliminate the duke and take his place. The conspiracy was clumsily conducted and soon discovered: all the allies of the two principals were put to death, whereas for them the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in the dungeons of the Este Castle. In 1506 the two were shut up in the castle prison.

Ferrante died there, while Giulio survived long enough to see the light of freedom again in 1559, thanks to Duke Alfonso II. He had reached the age of 81 years, of which 53 had been spent under lock and key.


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