This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (July 2018)
A member of the House of della Rovere, Cristoforo della Rovere was born in Turin on June 13, 1434, the son of Giovanni della Rovere and Anna del Pozo. His younger brother, Domenico della Rovere, also became a cardinal.
On August 3, 1472, he was elected Archbishop of Tarentaise. Pope Sixtus IV confirmed his appointment on September 15, 1472, and he subsequently occupied the see until his death. The Pope later made him Governor of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome.
In the consistory of December 10, 1477, Pope Sixtus IV made him a cardinal priest. On December 12, 1477, he received the titular church of San Vitale and the Pope dispatched one of the conservators of Rome to the Castel Sant'Angelo to give him the red hat.