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Francesca da Rimini (d. 1285?)

Francesca da Rimini (d. 1285?)

Italian noblewoman. Name variations: Francesca Malatesta. Born Francesca da Polenta; slain around 1285; sister of Bernardino da Polenta; married Gianciotto (Giovanni) Malatesta.

Francesca da Rimini is one of history's illstarred lovers. Married to Gianciotto Malatesta, she fell in love with his younger brother Paolo Malatesta, captain of the commune in Florence from 1282 to 1283, while the two jointly read a French romance, Lancelot du Lac. When a third brother informed Gianciotto, he killed Francesca and Paolo in a "crime of honor." The story, immortalized by Dante, has also been the subject of many artists, including Germany's Anselm Feuerbach, Holland's Ary Scheffer, and Italy's Amos Cassioli.

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