I began my task without any preconceived intention. I purposed to write, not an apology, but a history of Lucretia, broadly sketched, the materials for which, in so far as the most important period of her life, her residence in Rome, was concerned, were already in my possession. I desired to ascertain what manner of personality would be discovered by treating Lucretia Borgia in a way entirely different from that in which she had hitherto been examined, but at the same time scientifically, and in accordance with the original records.
I completed my data; I visited the places where she had lived. I repeatedly went to Modena and Mantua, whose archives are inexhaustible sources of information regarding the Renaissance, and from them I obtained most of my material. My friends there, as usual, were of great help to me, especially Signor Zucchetti, of Mantua, late keeper of the Gonzaga archives, and Signor Stefano Dav