A woman lies waiting for a new lover. Covered with nothing but rose petals, her body is exposed for pleasure: his and hers. The woman is Vannozza Cattanei, long-time mistress of a pope, matriarch of the Borgias, and a savvy 15th century businesswoman.
Following the death of Pope Alexander VI, Vannozza flees to a remote fortress, far from wild rumors and salacious gossip, to look back on her life and loves with compassion for her mistakes and pleasure in her triumphs. As she wanders the vast rooms, she lingers among the memories of her personal renaissance as an erotic icon and recalls the seduction, intrigue, and ceaseless striving to gather and hold power that marked their life together. In this fictionalized, first-person novella, Vannozza courageously explores the full spectrum of human experience from intense passion to profound despair that was her life in tumultuous times. The story of a survivor who skillfully navigates the complexities of Roman society, mothers four willful, impetuous and often feuding children, and faces the bitterness of being replaced by a woman young enough to be her daughter.
Far from judgment and prudish eyes, Vannozza tells her intimate story with candid sensuality and not a hint of shame.