Rodrigo Borgia/Pope Alexander VI
The head of the Borgia clan is an interesting dichotomy of a man. Both ruthlessly ambitious and utterly devoted to his family, he uses his position in the Catholic church to acquire power, influence and wealth. He is incredibly shrewd and manages to outmaneuver his rivals at every turn. But he also enjoys the carnal pleasures of life, particularly the company of beautiful women, and this leaves him open to his enemies.
Forced into the priesthood against his will by his father, Cesare is in reality violent, dashing and cavalier. He serves as his father’s Consigliore and carries out the most heinous crimes to advance the family’s cause. While devoted to his sister and mother, he is locked in a bitter rivalry with his brother Juan, whom he believes to be his father’s favorite.
A beautiful young girl who is also wise beyond her years, Lucrezia is the apple of her father’s eye. However, this does not prevent him from marrying her off at the earliest opportunity to Giovanni Sforza, a loutish brute whose family rules the powerful city-state of Milan.
As the head of the papal armies, favored son Juan is filled with swagger and bravado, but he is really a hopelessly inept coward. More interested in the brothels and taverns of Rome than with defending his family, Juan nonetheless resents that his brother Cesare is.
The ravishing temptress who comes to the Pope seeking redemption and ends up in his bed, Giulia quickly uses her new vaunted position to amass power and influence of her own. She befriends Lucrezia and shares her opinions with the Pope, thereby alienating Vanozza and driving a wedge straight through the heart of the Borgia family.
Vanozza dei Cattanei
The refined, aging mistress of Rodrigo, Vanozza is the mother of his children. Although she no longer shares the Pope’s bed, she is still the matriarch of his household and a vital member of his family. But when a younger woman catches the Pope’s eye, Vanozza unleashes a fury that threatens to unseat him.