Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì (early 1463 – 28 May 1509) was an Italian noblewoman, the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and Lucrezia Landriani, the wife of the courtier Gian Piero Landriani, a close friend of the Duke. Raised in the refined Milanese court, Caterina later held the titles of Lady of Imola and Countess of Forlì, by her marriage to Girolamo Riario. She was also the Regent for her first-born son, Ottaviano. The descendant of a dynasty of noted condottieri, Caterina, from an early age, distinguished herself by her bold and impetuous actions taken to safeguard her possessions from possible usurpers, and to defend her dominions from attack, when they were involved in political intrigues that were a distinguishing feature of 15th century Italy.
In her private life Caterina was devoted to various activities, among which were experiments in alchemy and a love of hunting and dancing. She had a large number of children, of whom only the youngest, Captain Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, inherited the forceful, militant character of his mother.
Following Caterina's resistance to Cesare Borgia, she had to face his fury and he took her prisoner. Upon regaining her liberty following her imprisonment in Rome, she led a quiet life in Florence. In the final years of her life, she confided to a monk: "If I were to write the story of my life, I would shock the world."
Source: Wikipedia, "Caterina Sforza", available under the CC-BY-SA License.