She was the illegitimate daughter of Francesco d'Este - her mother's name is unknown.
She was also notable as a patron of the arts and the protector of Torquato Tasso. She was also left a palace that year by her father, who had begun it in 1559 - it was slowly abandoned after her death. She also inherited the "San Silvestro" building and Palazzo Schifanoia from him.
Alderano and Marfisa had eight children:
Carlo (1581-1662), his father's heir. Married Brigida Spinola, with issue;
Odoardo (1585-1612), colonel in the Spanish army;
Cesare (1587-1588), died in infancy;
Vittoria (1588-1635), married Ercole Pepoli, count of Castiglione;
Ferdinando (1590-1623), canon of San Lorenzo in Genoa;