Born in Genoa, de Mari was an illegitimate child. According to some sources his paternity was attributed to Domenico de Mari, patrician of Genoa, brother of Teodorina and uncle of Maurizio Cybo. Now it looks likely that Maurizio (d. April 1491) was his father, his mother an unknown Spanish lady.
He was made cardinal on 9 March 1489 by his uncle, pope Innocent VIII.
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