I've only read the first fourteen pages, so this might be a disappointing first post. :D But it nonetheless inspired me to register after several months of lurking and reading these incredible books. So here goes... Rodrigo Borgia, aka Pope Alexander IV, aka the one the Papacy wants you to forget about (although they've created a few of those in recent history too, but I digress...). At the end of the 15th century, he tried to pull a rug over some of the considerable mess he'd created in Italy by declaring peace with Naples. The Milanese duke, Ludovico Sforza, wasn't the rightful duke at the time but was a friend of the Pope (his daddy was, anyway). So he needed the help of French king Charles VIII to defend against the Naples-backed rightful Duke whose name escapes me. Anyway, this is unimportant. To galvanise this new peace treaty, he married off his son to King Ferdinand of Naples' granddaughter. Their names? Giuffre and Dona Sancha. Not too dissimilar from another pair of betrothed offspring from two warring nations... Although the circumstances of their betrothal (and indeed their war) were admittedly very, very different. I'm not sure of any other inspirations from the Italian Renaissance in ASOIAF yet (but I've only read 3/4 of the first book and am only starting to learn properly about the Renaissance period, so...), but I noticed this one right away.