Azzone Visconti

Azzone Visconti

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Azzone Visconti was lord of Milan from 1329 until his death. He is considered the founder of the state of Milan, which later became a duchy.

Biography


Born in Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

, he was the sole legitimate son of Galeazzo I Visconti and Beatrice d'Este. In 1322 he was lord of Piacenza
Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...

, but in the same year, together with his father, was forced to flee. In 1325 he took part to the victorious Battle of Altopascio
Battle of Altopascio
The Battle of Altopascio was a battle fought in 1325 in Tuscany, between the Ghibelline forces of Castruccio Castracani and those of Guelph Florence.-Background:...

 against the Guelph
Guelphs and Ghibellines
The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the split between these two parties was a particularly important aspect of the internal policy of the Italian city-states...

s.

In 1329 he bought, for 60,000 (or 125,000) florin
Italian coin florin
The Italian florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard. It had 54 grains of nominally pure gold worth approximately 200 modern US Dollars...

s the title of imperial vicar of Milan by the emperor Louis IV
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 in opposition to the Pope, who nominally held the right of the nomination. Azzone paid only 12,000 of the promised florins, the feeble Louis being unable to force the payment. In the same years he was named as one of the assassins of his uncle Marco Visconti, but was never condemned. On March 15, 1330 Azzone was appointed perpetual lord of Milan. the expiring of the excommunication pending over the family since the times of his grandfather Matteo.

In 1331, he married Caterina di Savoia.. That same year, Charles of Bohemia
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

, the son of King John of Bohemia and future emperor as Charles IV, was nearly poisoned to death at a banquet in Pavia. Azzone was again suspected. In the August of the same year he allied with Theodore I, Marquess of Montferrat
Theodore I, Marquess of Montferrat
Theodore I Palaiologos or Palaeologus was Marquess of Montferrat from 1306 until his death.He was a son of Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos and Irene of Montferrat...

, against King Robert of Anjou, in order to capture his possessions in north-western Italy. In 1332 he also conquered Bergamo
Bergamo
Bergamo is a town and comune in Lombardy, Italy, about 40 km northeast of Milan. The comune is home to over 120,000 inhabitants. It is served by the Orio al Serio Airport, which also serves the Province of Bergamo, and to a lesser extent the metropolitan area of Milan...

 and Pizzighettone
Pizzighettone
Pizzighettone is a comune of the Province of Cremona in the Italian region Lombardy. The main population centre is located on the river Adda and is divided into two parts: Pizzighettone on the east bank and Gera on the west....

, continuing in 1335 with Lodi, Crema and other Lombardy lands who had ceded themselves to the Papal States, as well as Vercelli
Vercelli
Vercelli is a city and comune of about 47,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC.The city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river...

 and Cremona
Cremona
Cremona is a city and comune in northern Italy, situated in Lombardy, on the left bank of the Po River in the middle of the Pianura Padana . It is the capital of the province of Cremona and the seat of the local City and Province governments...

.

Lodrisio, who had escaped, set a company of mercenary troops with the help of the Scaliger
Scaliger
The noble family of the Scaliger were Lords of Verona. When Ezzelino III was elected podestà of the commune in 1226, he was able to convert the office into a permanent lordship...

s of Verona
Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, who sought vengeance for Azzone's support to Venice during the war with Verona. The latter was however defeated by the Milanese troops in the battle of Parabiago
Battle of Parabiago
-Background:Lodrisio Visconti set out for Lombardy in the late January 1339, defeating the Milanese in Rivolta d'Adda, and later conquering Cernusco sul Naviglio, Sesto di Monza and Legnano, where he was joined by the Scaliger troops. Luchino set off to meet the Compagnia with his citizen militia...

, to which Azzone, suffering of gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

, did not partake. Lodrisio was imprisoned in the castle of San Colombano al Lambro
San Colombano al Lambro
San Colombano al Lambro is a comune in the Province of Milan in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 40 km southeast of Milan. It is an exclave of the province, completely surrounded by territory of the Province of Lodi or the Province of Pavia...

.

He died in 1339 for a gout attack, and was buried in the church of San Gottardo
San Gottardo, Milan
San Gottardo in Corte or San Gottardo a Palazzo is a church in Milan, northern Italy.It was built as Ducal Chapel by Azzone Visconti in 1330, and finished in 1336, as indicated by an inscription on the walls. It was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin but Azzone, who suffered from gout,...

, which he had commissioned some years before. He had no male heirs, having had only a daughter, Luchina. He is also remembered for his great construction works in Milan and other cities of Lombardy.