Maria Mancini, one of the so-called Mazarinette, nieces of the powerful Cardinal Giulio Mazarin, was born in Rome in 1639. Life at the Parisian court called for preparation. Maria Mancini a letter to her husband, Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, from a house adjacent to the Convent of Santo Domingo el Real in Madrid. One of the sisters, Laura Vittoria Mancini, who was married to the duke of Mercu, could help prepare them during the eight months they spent with her in Aix. In 1656 Maria's mother died and she immediately went to the court of Louis XIV, where she received the attention of the king himself. The Rome that María lived in was that of Pope Alexander VII; it was a city of great artistic development but also one marked by a series of measures imposing rules on Roman society that clearly clashed with the liberal notions to which María was accustomed.