The Borgias (2011–2013)
2 user

The Borgias in Love 

Cesare Borgia takes the beautiful Ursula Bornadeo as his mistress and vows to revenge himself on her husband who has insulted his mother.


John Maybury


Neil Jordan (creator), Neil Jordan




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... Rodrigo Borgia
François Arnaud ... Cesare Borgia
Holliday Grainger ... Lucrezia Borgia
Joanne Whalley ... Vanozza Cattaneo
Lotte Verbeek ... Giulia Farnese
David Oakes ... Juan Borgia
Sean Harris ... Micheletto
Steven Berkoff ... Girolamo Savonarola
Colm Feore ... Giuliano Della Rovere
Julian Bleach ... Niccolo Machiavelli
Ruta Gedmintas ... Ursula Bonadeo
Luke Pasqualino ... Paolo
Mickey Sumner ... Francesca
Peter Sullivan ... Cardinal Ascanio Sforza
Ronan Vibert ... Giovanni Sforza


Cesare Borgia takes an interest in the beautiful but married Ursula Bornadeo. Her husband had insulted him and his mother at Lucrezia's wedding and Cesare has every intention of seeking satisfaction. Lucrezia suffers at the hands of her brutish husband but takes an interest in a young stable boy, Paulo, a gentle lad who soon plots with her to get rid of his master. Cardinal Della Rovere visits the Duke of Milan to seek safe passage for an invading French army. The Pope dispatches his son to to speak to the Medicis about any plans they may have made with Della Rovere. The Pope entertains offers of marriage for his son Juan who is not keen with what is on offer. Another political wedding may be required. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Canada | Hungary | Ireland



Release Date:

24 April 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Korda Studios, Etyek, Hungary See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although Giovanni and Ludivico Sforza are mentioned as being cousins, in reality they were brothers. See more »


Niccolo Machiavelli: You are far too clever for a cardinal.
Cesare Borgia: The times make me so.
See more »


The Borgias Main Titles (Instrumental)
Written by Trevor Morris
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User Reviews

"What else are families for?"
23 May 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Season 1 of 'The Borgias' was far from perfect and took time to settle, something that was more noticeable on my re-watch binge. Especially in the writing and pacing, over-time both improved and they were starting to at this point of the season too. But there were also a lot of great and even brilliant qualities, such as one of my all-time favourite opening titles sequences, and each episode regardless of imperfections is on the most part absorbing enough as a result of those great qualities.

Found an enormous amount to like about the first three episodes, which had exceptionally high production values and music with some memorable scenes, interactions and exchanges as well. Jeremy Irons was never less than watchable too in one of his best roles, relishing some of the show's best lines, having some of the show's best scenes, having many believable interactions (namely with Cesare and Giulia) and with telling softer/more subtle moments, all of which continued throughout 'The Borgias' run. Also found a lot to like about the previous episode "Lucrezia's Wedding", although it was a step down due to the Della Rovere subplot namely.

"The Borgias in Love" fares the same, though do feel the same about it with "Lucrezia's Wedding" in not finding it as good as the first three episodes.

Will begin with the not so good things. Like "Lucrezia's Wedding", the Della Rovere subplot brings it down significantly. Again found it very dull and lacking in tension, it also is too exposition-heavy. Della Rovere himself is still bland and here almost detached, and some of the newly introduced characters in the subplot veer on cartoonish.

Did find the Lucrezia and Paolo subplot similarly with not an awful lot of life and cheesily written, though Lucrezia's actions are understandable. Parts of the dialogue are soapy and am not sure what to make of Ursula as a character yet.

Flaws outweigh those not so good things though. Have nothing to fault the production values, it is exquisitely costumed, with the rich colours and evocative designs, and the scenery and interiors also leave one in awe, made even better by the photography which rivals a lot of period dramas on film. The music still has the beauty and intensity that were present before. Meanwhile the opening titles sequences and main theme still give me the chills. one of my favourite opening titles sequences of all time (film and television). The main theme is incredible, the sheer intensity, grandeur and drama (already sending chills down the spine and induces goosebumps before the episode's even begun) makes it one of my favourite main themes for any show. Matched by splendidly and cleverly designed visuals.

Although episodes before and since "The Borgias in Love" have scenes that have bigger impact, there are scenes that stand out. The rainy duel (although some of it is too darkly lit), Giovanni's harrowing treatment of Lucrezia, the tensely calculating and intriguing scene between Rodrigo, Cesare and Juan and especially that beautifully filmed and nightmarish opening scene. The interactions are also well done, especially between Cesare and Lucrezia, Juan and Rodrigo and Rodrigo and Giulia (love those two together). Other than with Della Rovere, the pace is improving the more eventful the storytelling is getting.

Have little to fault most of the performances, in the scenes that aren't the Della Rovere subplot. Irons does have too little to do here, but really shines when he is on screen. Whether it is in the opening scene, the chemistry between him and Giulia (as ever ravishingly played by Lotte Verbeek) and the scene between him, Francois Arnaud (with Cesare becoming more interesting and developed each episode, and he is by far the most interesting character here, his subplot also having some heart) and David Oakes. Best of all though is his subtle comic timing, absolutely love his expressions of pure exasperation reactions at Juan's marriage fantasies. Lucrezia is starting to come into her own and mature, and did feel genuine empathy for her, Holliday Grainger brings out the anguish well. Ronan Vibert is a menacing Giovanni and something of a brute.

In summary, good episode but not a great one. 7/10

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