Guido della Torre
son of Francesco della Torre (brother of Napoleone della Torre
Napoleone della Torre , also known as Napo della Torre, was an Italian nobleman, who was effective Lord of Milan in the late 13th century. He was a member of the della Torre family.-Biography:...
) and Julia Castiglioni, was a Lord of Milan
between 1302 and 1312.
As part of the factional turmoil between the 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...
, the conflict of Guido’s Guelph family with the Ghibelline Visconti
Visconti is the family name of two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages. There are two distinct Visconti families: The first one in the Republic of Pisa in the mid twelfth century who achieved prominence first in Pisa, then in Sardinia where they became rulers of Gallura...
, led by Ottone Visconti
, dominated much of his childhood. In 1277, after the Battle of Desio
The Battle of Desio was fought on 21 January 1277 between the Della Torre and Visconti families for the control of Milan and its countryside. The battlefield was located near the modern Desio, a commune outside the city in Lombardy, northern Italy....
, in which he lost his father, he was taken prisoner with his uncle Napoleone, and imprisoned in the castle of Baradello. He escaped from this castle in 1284, with the help of Loterio Rusca, the Lord of Como
Como is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy.It is the administrative capital of the Province of Como....
and William VII, Marquess of Montferrat
William VII , called the Great , was the twelfth Margrave of Montferrat from 1253 to his death. He was also the titular King of Thessalonica.-Youth:...
. He fled with his uncle Raimondo della Torre, who was the Patriarch of Aquileia
. In 1287 Guido became Podestà
Podestà is the name given to certain high officials in many Italian cities, since the later Middle Ages, mainly as Chief magistrate of a city state , but also as a local administrator, the representative of the Emperor.The term derives from the Latin word potestas, meaning power...
Treviso is a city and comune in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Treviso and the municipality has 82,854 inhabitants : some 3,000 live within the Venetian walls or in the historical and monumental center, some 80,000 live in the urban center proper, while the city...
After his escape from the castle Baradello, Guido led the Guelphs in the riots that took place in Milan in the last years of the thirteenth century. In 1302, a group of Guelphs, including the Lords of Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...
Parma is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its ham, its cheese, its architecture and the fine countryside around it. This is the home of the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world....
, Alberto Scotti and Ghiberto da Correggio, compelled the Visconti to leave Milan, in 1302. After twenty-five years of exile, Guido della Torre and his family regained their power in Milan.
Guido then sought to forge new alliances through marriages:
- Guido married the daughter of Count Filippo Langosco.
- His eldest son, Francesco, married a niece of Alberto Scotti.
- His second son, Simone, married a daughter of Pietro Visconti.
Being the head of the della Torre family helped Guido in his election to Milan’s Captain of the People in 1307. The following year Milan elected him as a 'perpetual captain of the people’. This lifetime appointment was equivalent to a lordship for the city, and thus signified the end of Milan as a republic.
However, the deposed Matteo Visconti was able to regain the leadership of Milan.
The clash forced the della Torre to flee, first to Lodi, then to Cremona where Guido died in the summer of 1312