Sforza was was the daughter of a rich Florentine banker who owned an impressive 800-acre tract of land near Tormento, Italy. She was known for having a "checkered reputation" and attending and/or hosting celebrations, or levées, at the ruins of Emperor Nero's Golden House.
Scintilla: a small spark or flash; a small or trace amount.
Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the dukedom and Duchy of Milan in the mid-15th century and lost it about a century later. Giovanni Sforza (1466–1510) was the first husband of the legendary Lucrezia Borgia, herself the daughter of Rodrigo Borgia – better known as Pope Alexander VI. John borrowed the surname but, as the context makes clear, this woman is fictional.
Latifundium: a great landed estate with absentee ownership and labor often in a state of partial servitude. Popular in ancient Rome, the concept goes hand-in-hand with Marilyn Fitschen's depiction of the workers at Santa Fidgeta.
Assuming a new name is common in Catholic tradition. When a person is baptized or confirmed, he or she takes on a new name symbolizing the new life they have entered into.