Cunizza da Romano

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Cunizza da Romano (born c. 1198) was an Italian noblewoman, the third daughter of Ezzelino II da Romano and Adelaide di Mangona, and sister to Ezzelino III and Alberico da Romano.

As a young girl, Cunizza married Riccardo di San Bonifacio, Lord of Verona, but eloped with the court poet Sordello, who took her to his parents' house. Later she married Aimerio of the Counts of Braganze.

She spent her last days in Florence in the household of Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti, where Dante came to know her in person. She appears in the “Third Sphere” in his Paradiso (Canto IX, lines 13–65).[1]

A fictionalised account of the courtship between Riccardo and Cunizza, one with quite a different outcome, forms the basis for Giuseppe Verdi's first opera, Oberto conte di San Bonifacio.[2]

Cunizza is mentioned in both Robert Browning's Sordello and Ezra Pound's Cantos.


  1. ^ Her brother, by contrast, appears in Inferno, and Sordello in Purgatario.
  2. ^ "Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio".