A Noteworthy Binge: Borgia

In honor of spring break, this week’s “A Noteworthy Binge” tells of a story that takes place in the Italian countryside deep within Rome. “Borgia” is everything a “stay-cationer” needs to keep themselves entertained.

The Borgia legacy was forged the moment Rodrigo Borgia began his position as a cardinal in the Pope’s court. Throughout his life and through becoming Pope Alexander VI, he was obsessed with power and the betterment of life for his illegitimate children. Giovanni, Cesare, Lucrezia and Gioffre are the basis of his family, these are his only known children. They are responsible for the expansive political controversy Pope Alexander VI would have to deal with.

The show is all about the family’s rise and fall from power with side stories of personal relationships and personal gain. The family is accused of an extensive list of crimes, including incest, simony, theft, bribery and murder (infamously by arsenic poisoning).

Not only is Pope Alexander VI known for his political savvy, but so are his children. Cesare Borgia was made a cardinal by his father immediately following theology school, but after the sudden murder of his brother and Spanish prince, Giovanni Borgia, Cesare left the order to claim the power his brother once held.

This led to him leading a massive papal army through Europe in effort to remove Italian lords from their lands. Throughout this military campaign, Cesare fathered at least a dozen illegitimate children while his wife stayed behind in France.

Lucrezia Borgia was often a pawn in the political game her father set. She was married three times for the whim and need of her father. Luckily, annulments were easily obtained since her father was the pope. Due to her ability to carry herself at a young age and her reportedly immense beauty, many didn’t oppose her when it came to being her bridegroom, even if they believed she had bore an illegitimate child, murdered and had relations with her brother.

On Netflix there are two versions of this show available – both are based on the true story of this family. The one produced by Netflix has more violence and sexual content, and explores all of the controversy without leaving any of the rumor behind.

“Borgia” has beautiful sets and a deep knowledge of the papal process. It is a must watch if you are interested in a political, murderous and truly devious historical drama.

If you enjoy “Borgia” you may also like to watch “The Tudors,” “The White Queen” and “A World Without End.”