MY HONORED DUKE : I am induced to dedicate this work to you by the historical circumstances of which it treats and also by personal considerations. In it you will behold the founders of your ancient and
illustrious family. The Borgias were mortal enemies of the Gaetani, who narrowly escaped the fate prepared for them by Alexander VI and his terrible son. Beautiful Sermoneta and all the great fiefs in the Maremma fell into the maw of the Borgias, and your ancestors either found death at their hands or were driven into exile. Donna Lucretia became mistress of Sermoneta, and eventually her son, Rodrigo of Aragon, inherited the estates of the Gaetani. Centuries have passed, and a beautiful and unfortunate
woman may be forgiven for this confiscation of the appanages of your house. Moreover, it was not long before your family was reinstated in its rights by a bull of Julius II, which is now preserved a precious jewel in your family archives. To your house has descended the fame of its founders, but to yourself is due the position which the Gaetani now again enjoy. The survival of historical tradition in things and men exercises an indescribable charm on every student of civilization. To recognize in the ancient and still flourishing families of modern Rome the descendants of the great pervii sonalities of other times, and to enjoy daily intercourse with them, made a profound impression on me. The Colonna, the Orsini, and the Gaetani are my friends, and all afforded me the greatest assistance. These families long ago vanished from the stage of Roman history, but the day came, illustrious Duke, when you were to make a place again for your ancient race in the history of the Imperial City; the day when the temporal power of the popes havingpassed away, a power which had endured a thousand years you carried
to King Victor Emmanuel in Florence the declaration of allegiance of the Roman populace. This episode, marking the beginning of a new era for the city, will live, together with your name, in the annals of the Gaetani, and will preserve it forever in the memory of the Romans.