They have become a byword for incest, corruption and decadence, the subject of dozens of books, plays, films and an acclaimed television series.
But a new book that draws on documents in the Vatican Secret Archive tries to debunk some of the darkest stories about the Borgias and to rehabilitate their much-maligned reputation.
In The Borgias: The Black Legend, Mario Dal Bello, an Italian historian and journalist, argues that the notorious Renaissance clan were the unfair victims of disinformation and propaganda fuelled by the rivalry of other power hungry families.
"The films and miniseries are great fun because they are full of sex, scandal and blood," said Mr Dal Bello. "But they do not represent history accurately.
"The Borgias got a very bad press because the first people to write their history were their critics."
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