Alessandro Riario

Alessandro Riario (1543–1585) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal.[1]


Alessandro Riario was born in Bologna on 3 December 1543, the son of patricians Palatine Count Giulio Riario, and Isabella Pepoli.[2] He was related by marriage to Pope Gregory XIII.[2] He was educated at the University of Padua and then at the University of Bologna, becoming a doctor of both laws on 11 May 1563.[2]

As a young man, he moved to Rome where he became a protonotary apostolic and a Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura.[2] Pope Pius IV made him a domestic prelate.[2] On 1 May 1562 he became secretary apostolic.[2] He served as auditor general of the Apostolic Signatura from 3 April 1565 to 1578.[2]

On 8 November 1570 he was elected Titular Patriarch of Alexandria.[2] He accompanied Cardinal Michele Bonelli in 1571 on his legation to Spain, the Kingdom of Portugal, and the Kingdom of France designed to promote a league against the Ottoman Empire.[2] Riario was consecrated as a bishop in the Sistine Chapel on 24 August 1572 by Cardinal Benedetto Lomellini assisted by Antonio Elio, Titular Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Giovanni Ambrosio Fieschi, Bishop of Savona.[2]

Pope Gregory XIII made him a cardinal priest in the consistory of 21 February 1578.[2] He received the red hat and the titular church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on 3 March 1578.[2] Along with Cardinal Francesco Crasso and other prelates, he was charged with reforming the Roman Curia.[2] On 23 March 1580 he was named legate a latere before Philip II of Spain.[2] He became Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in May 1581.[2] He became legate a latere to the Kingdom of Portugal on 25 October 1581 and served as legate a latere in Perugia and Umbria from 25 October 1581 to 1583.[2] He participated in the papal conclave of 1585 that elected Pope Sixtus V.[2]

He died in Rome on 18 July 1585.[2] He was initially buried in Santi Apostoli.[2] His remains were later transferred to Bologna and buried in the Church of San Giacomo.[2]