Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Este, the name of an ancient Italian family which produced many illustrious men. Among the best-known of them are Alfonso I., who, after joining the league of Cambray and commanding the Papal army, was afterwards opposed to the Pope, and captured the Papal general Fabrizio Colonna. He was for a time restored by Leo X., but was afterwards excommunicated, and took part with Francis I. of France in his war with Charles V., afterwards joining the Emperor, who secured to him his possessions. In the reign of Pope Alexander VI. he married Lucrezia Borgia, by whom he became father of Ercole II., whose wife, Renee of France, favoured Calvin and the Reformers. His son, Alfonso II., imprisoned Tasso in the madhouse for seven years for raising his eyes to the Princess Lucrezia. His cousin and heir Cesare was excommunicated by the Pope and deprived of Ferrara, after which the family steadily declined, and in 1859 the duchy was annexed to Sardinia.