|House of Riario
Italian: Casa Riario
|Final ruler||Girolamo Riario|
The House of Riario, sometimes called also House of Riario-Sforza was an Italian noble family from Savona, near Genoa. Affiliated to the Papal States, it obtained the control of several signorie ("lordship"), like Bologna and Forlì.
The fortune of the Riarios was Paolo Riario's marriage with Bianca della Rovere, sister of Francesco della Rovere, the future Pope Sixtus IV. Thanks to the allegiance with the House of Della Rovere, the Riarios obtained two prominent cardinals: Pietro Riario (1445–1474) and Raffaele Riario (1461–1521)
The Paolo's son, Girolamo (1443–1488) married in 1477 Caterina Sforza (1463–1509), illegitimate son of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Girolamo was from 1473 Lord of Imola, and after the marriage with Caterina, also Lord of Forlì, replacing Pino III Ordelaffi, member of the powerful House of Ordelaffi. In 1478, Girolamo supported the Pazzi conspiracy against the Medici family. After his failure, he attempted a territorial expansion against the Duchy of Ferrara, that in 1482 became known as "Salt War". The war caused the cession of Rovigo from Ferrara to Venice, but the Papal States not obtained any territory. The war caused an economic crisis, and Forlì was heavily taxed, caused the Girolamo's unpopularity. Finally, was murdered by the rival House of Orsi in 1488, and his wife Caterina became regent for his son Ottaviano Riario (1479–1523).
However, the death of Pope Sixtus IV in 1484 weakened the House of Riario, and in 1499, Pope Alexander VI, member of the strong House of Borgia created the title of "Duke of Romagna" (uniting the lordships of Forlì, Imola, Faenza, Cesena, Ravenna and Rimini) for his illegitimate son Cesare Borgia, and the Riario family moved first to Bologna, then also to Rome and Naples.
Other famous member of the Riario family were:
- Bianca Riario (1478–1522); son of Girolamo
- Archbishop Cesare Riario (1480–1540); son of Girolamo
- Galeazzo Maria Riario (1485–15??); son of Girolamo
- Bishop Francesco Riario (1487–15??); son of Girolamo
- Cardinal Alessandro Riario (1443–1585)
- Duke Ferdinando Riario (17th century), officer of the Holy Roman Empire
- Giovanni Riario (1769–1836), soldier
- Cardinal Tommaso Riario Sforza (1782–1857)
- Cardinal Sisto Riario Sforza (1810–1877); last member until the family's extinction.