House of Visconti

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Visconti is the family name of two important Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 dynasties of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. There are two distinct Visconti families: The first one (chronologically) in the Republic of Pisa
Republic of Pisa
The Republic of Pisa was a de facto independent state centered on the Tuscan city of Pisa during the late tenth and eleventh centuries. It rose to become an economic powerhouse, a commercial center whose merchants dominated Mediterranean and Italian trade for a century before being surpassed and...

 in the mid twelfth century who achieved prominence first in Pisa, then in Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 where they became rulers of Gallura
Giudicato of Gallura
The Giudicato of Gallura was one of four Sardinian giudicati of the Middle Ages. These were de facto independent states ruled by judges bearing the title iudex . Gallura, a name which comes from gallus, meaning rooster , was subdivided into ten curatoriae governed by curatores under the judge...

. The second rose to power in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, where they ruled from 1277 to 1447 and where several collateral branches still exist.

The Visconti of Gallura used a cock as their symbol (Gallura meaning 'land of cocks'), whereas the later Visconti of Milan used a biscione
Biscione
The Biscione , also known as the Vipera , is a heraldic charge showing in Argent an Azure serpent in the act of consuming a human; usually a child and sometimes described as a Moor. It has been the emblem of the Italian Visconti family for around a thousand years...

 (a great serpent) swallowing a Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

, or, according to another version, on the contrary giving life to a child. This symbol is still closely connected with Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

.

Any link between the two families in Pisa-Gallura and Milan has yet to be proven.

Visconti of Pisa and Sardinia



The first Visconti of note in Pisa was Alberto, who bore the title patrician
Patricianship
Patricianship, the quality of belonging to a patriciate, began in the ancient world, where cities such as Ancient Rome had a class of patrician families whose members were the only people allowed to exercise many political functions...

. Alberto's son, Eldizio, bore the titles patrician and consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 from 1184 to 1185. It was Eldizio's sons, Lamberto and Ubaldo I
Ubaldo I Visconti
Ubaldo I Visconti was the de jure overlord of the Giudicato of Cagliari from 1217. He was a member of the Visconti family of Pisa, controlling Cagliari on behalf of his brother, who was judge jure uxoris from 1218....

, who brought the family to the height of its influence in Pisa and Sardinia. Both of them carried the title of patrician and each served a term as podestà
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...

.

In 1212 various factions, pro- and anti-Visconti clashed for control over Pisa. In mid-January 1213, William I of Cagliari
William I of Cagliari
William I was the giudice of Cagliari from 1188 to his death.William was one of the greatest of medieval Sardinian giudici...

 led a coalition of anti-Visconti forces to victory in battle near Massa
Massa
Massa is a town and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, the administrative centre of the province of Massa-Carrara. It is located in the Frigido River Valley, near the Alpi Apuane, some 5 kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea....

 over the combined forces of Lucca
Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

 and the Visconti under Ubaldo. Afterward, Pisa divided power between four rector
Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

es
, one of which was a Visconti. The Visconti of Sardinia continued to take a part in Pisan politics to the end of the century, but their influence there was greatly diminished after 1213.

In Sardinia Eldizio had married a daughter of Torchitorio III of Cagliari
Torchitorio III of Cagliari
Torchitorio III , born Peter, was the Judge of Cagliari from October 1163 to his deposition and arrest in 1188, after which he was never heard of again....

, who became the mother of Lamberto and Ubaldo. In 1207, Lamberto married Elena
Elena of Gallura
Elena was the daughter and successor of Barisone II of Gallura and was named after her mother of the Lacon family. She ruled Gallura from the death of her father until her own death, though she was eclipsed by her husband after 1207....

, the heiress of Barisone II of Gallura
Barisone II of Gallura
Barisone II was the Judge of Gallura from about 1170 to his death. He was the son of Constantine III. His name appears in acts of 1182 and 1184....

, thus securing control over the northeastern corner of Sardinia with his capital at Civita
Civita
Civita is a Norwegian liberal think tank which gains support from, among others, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. In the beginning, it was led by Terje Svabø, but prominent Conservative Party politician Kristin Clemet took over on November 16, 2006 after having central roles in many...

. In 1215, he and Ubaldo established their hegemony over the Giudicato of Cagliari
Giudicato of Cagliari
The Giudicato of Cagliari was one of the four Sardinian giudicati of the Middle Ages. It covered the entire south and central east portion of the island and was composed of thirteen subdivisions called curatoriae. To its north and west lay Arborea and north and on the east lay Gallura and Logudoro...

 in the south of the island as well. Through advantageous marriages, Lamberto's son, Ubaldo II
Ubaldo of Gallura
Ubaldo II Visconti, son of Lamberto di Eldizio and Elena de Lacon, was the Judge of Gallura from 1225 to his death in 1238. He ruled every giudicato on the island of Sardinia at one point or another save Arborea....

, secured power in Logudoro for a time. By mid century, Pisan authority was unopposed in Sardinia thanks to intermarriages between the Visconti family and the other great families of Pisa (Gherardeschi and Capraia
Capraia
Capraia, called Capraria in ancient times, is an island of Italy, part of the Tuscan Archipelago, off the northwest coast; it is also a comune belonging to the Province of Livorno. It is 62 km from the city of Livorno by sea, and 32 km northwest of the island of Elba; it is slightly...

) and Sardinia (Lacon and Bas-Serra).

Visconti rulers of Gallura

  • Lambert (1207 – 1225)
  • Ubaldo (1225 – 1238)
  • John
    John of Gallura
    John Visconti was the Judge of Gallura from 1238 to his death. He was a member of the Visconti dynasty of Pisa....

     (1238 – 1275)
  • Nino
    Nino Visconti
    Ugolino Visconti , better known as Nino, was the Giudice of Gallura from 1275 or 1276 to his death. He was a son of Giovanni Visconti and nephew of Ugolino della Gherardesca. He was the first husband of Beatrice, daughter of Obizzo II d'Este...

     (1275 – 1298) his wife Beatrice d'Este (d. 15 September 1334) married secondly on 24 June 1300 to Galeazzo I Visconti [1277-1328], Lord of Milan.,
  • Joanna
    Joanna of Gallura
    Joanna Visconti was the titular Judge of Gallura from 1298. She was the daughter of Ugolino Visconti and Beatrice, daughter of Obizzo II d'Este...

     (1298 – 1308) stepsister of Azzone Visconti

Visconti of Milan


The effective founder of the Visconti of Milan, Ottone, wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre
Della Torre
The Della Torre were an Italian noble family who rose to prominence in Lombardy during the 12th-14th centuries, until they held the seigniory of Milan before being ousted by the Visconti....

 family in 1277.

The family loved to claim legendary versions about its origins (Fancy genealogies were en vogue at the time) while established facts reflect quite sober and almost humble beginnings. The branch of the Visconti family that came to rule Milan was originally entrusted with the lordship of Massino (nowadays Massino Visconti
Massino Visconti
Massino Visconti is a municipality in the Province of Novara, in the Italian region of Piedmont, located about 110 km northeast of Turin and about 40 km north of Novara...

), a village above Lago Maggiore, which they controlled from the twelfth century.

It is said that the Milanese Visconti had their origins in a family of capitanei (cfr. the modern surname Cattaneo
Cattaneo
Cattaneo is a surname, and may refer to:* Adelardo Cattaneo* Carlo Cattaneo , Italian admiral* Carlo Cattaneo , Italian mathematician* Carlo Cattaneo , Italian painter...

) whom archbishop Landulf of Milan (978-998) had granted certain feudal holdings known as caput plebis (at the head, likely in geographical and not hierarchical sense, of the pieve, an ecclesiastical lesser subdivision). A document from the year 1157 says the Visconti were holders of the captaincy of Marliano (today Mariano Comense
Mariano Comense
Mariano Comense is a town and comune in the province of Como, Lombardy, Italy. It has c. 23,600 inhabitants and is one of the most important cities of the Brianza. It received the honorary title of city with a presidential decree on February 29, 1996. The city is also known for the drummer Fabio...

); late chronicler Galvano Fiamma
Galvano Fiamma
Galvano Fiamma was an Italian Domincan and chronicler of Milan.He was chaplain to the Milanese lord Galeazzo II Visconti.He wrote several chronicles dealing with the history of Milan and exalting the Visconti, who by his day had in effect become its ruling dynasty.His numerous historical writings...

 confirms this version. Decades before that, before 1070, they had gained the title of viscount
Viscount
A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

 to be later inherited down the male line (Biscaro, ASL, "I maggiori dei Visconti di Milano"). The family dispersed into several branches, some of which were entrusted fiefs far off from the Lombard metropolis
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

; the one which gave the Medieval lords of Milan is said to be descended from Umberto (d. in the first half of the 12th century).

The Visconti ruled Milan until the early Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, first as Lords, then, from 1395, with the mighty Gian Galeazzo
Gian Galeazzo Visconti
Gian Galeazzo Visconti , son of Galeazzo II Visconti and Bianca of Savoy, was the first Duke of Milan and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance...

 who endeavored to unify Northern Italy and Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, as Dukes
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

. Visconti rule in Milan ended with the death of Filippo Maria Visconti
Filippo Maria Visconti
Filippo Maria Visconti was ruler of Milan from 1412 to 1447.-Biography:Filippo Maria Visconti, who had become nominal ruler of Pavia in 1402, succeeded his assassinated brother Gian Maria Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1412. They were the sons of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Gian Maria's predecessor, by...

 in 1447. He was succeeded by a short-lived republic
Ambrosian Republic
The Golden Ambrosian Republic was a short-lived government founded in Milan by members of the University of Pavia with popular support...

 and then by his son-in-law Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza was an Italian condottiero, the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Italy. He was the brother of Alessandro, with whom he often fought.-Early life:...

, who established the reign of the House of Sforza
House of Sforza
Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan.-History:The dynasty was founded by Muzio Attendolo , called Sforza , a condottiero from Romagna serving the Angevin kings of Naples...

.

Visconti rulers of Milan

  • Ottone Visconti, Archbishop of Milan (1277 – 1294)
  • Matteo I Visconti (1294 – 1302; 1311 – 1322)
  • Galeazzo I Visconti (1322 – 1327)
  • Azzone Visconti (1329 – 1339)
  • Luchino I Visconti (1339 – 1349)
  • Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop of Milan (1349 –-1354)
  • Bernabò Visconti
    Bernabo Visconti
    Bernabò Visconti was an Italian soldier and statesman, who was Lord of Milan.-Life:He was born in Milan, the son of Stefano Visconti and Valentina Doria. From 1346 to 1349 he lived in exile, until he was called back by his uncle Giovanni Visconti...

     (1354 – 1385)
  • Galeazzo II Visconti
    Galeazzo II Visconti
    -External links:*...

     (1354 – 1378)
  • Matteo II Visconti (1354 – 1355)
  • Gian Galeazzo Visconti
    Gian Galeazzo Visconti
    Gian Galeazzo Visconti , son of Galeazzo II Visconti and Bianca of Savoy, was the first Duke of Milan and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance...

     (1378 – 1402) {1st Duke of Milan & nephew of Bernabò Visconti}
  • Giovanni Maria Visconti (1402 – 1412)
  • Filippo Maria Visconti
    Filippo Maria Visconti
    Filippo Maria Visconti was ruler of Milan from 1412 to 1447.-Biography:Filippo Maria Visconti, who had become nominal ruler of Pavia in 1402, succeeded his assassinated brother Gian Maria Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1412. They were the sons of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Gian Maria's predecessor, by...

     (1412 – 1447)
    • Bianca Maria Visconti
      Bianca Maria Visconti
      Bianca Maria Visconti was Duchess of Milan from 1450 to 1468.-Early years:Born near Settimo Pavese, Bianca Maria was the illegitimate daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan and last of the Visconti rulers, and Agnese del Maino, the only person the shy, secluded Filippo ever loved...

       married Francesco I Sforza
      Francesco I Sforza
      Francesco I Sforza was an Italian condottiero, the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Italy. He was the brother of Alessandro, with whom he often fought.-Early life:...


Visconti of Milan family tree

Descendants of Uberto Visconte ( † mid-13th century)
ol style="background:#61ffff; text-align:left; font-weight:400; color:black; border-left: 1px solid navy;">
  •  Ottone{1207-1295}
     archbishop of Milan (1262)
     Lord of Milan (1277–78) and (1282–85).
  •  Andreotto (13th century)

    1.  Teobaldo Visconti (1225–1275)

      1.  Matteo I Visconti

          capitano del popolo of Milan (1287–1298)
         
        lord of Milan (1287–1302) and (1311–1322)

        1.  Galeazzo I
           lord of Milan (1322–1327)

          1.  Azzone
             lord of Milan (1329–1339)

        2.  Marco
          Marco Visconti
          Marco Visconti is a musician, known for his work with the Italian band XP8.-Biography:Visconti was born in Rome, Italy....

           († 1329)
        3.  Giovanni
           Archbishop of Milan (1339)

           lord of Milan (1339–1354)

           lord of Bologna
          Bologna
          Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

           and Genoa
          Genoa
          Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

           (1331–1354).

          1.  Giovanni da Oleggio (presumed)
             lord of Bologna (1355–1360)

        4.  Luchino
           lord of Milan (1339–1349)

          1.  Luchino Novello (died 1399)

        5.  Stefano
          Stefano Visconti
          Stefano Visconti was a member of the House of Visconti that ruled Milan from the 14th to the 15th century. He was the son of Matteo I Visconti....

           (died 1327)

          1.  Matteo II
             lord of Milan (1354–1355)
          2.  Galeazzo II
            Galeazzo II Visconti
            -External links:*...


             lord of Milan (1354–1378)

            1.  Gian Galeazzo
              Gian Galeazzo Visconti
              Gian Galeazzo Visconti , son of Galeazzo II Visconti and Bianca of Savoy, was the first Duke of Milan and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance...


               lord of Milan (1378–1395)
               Duke of Milan (1395–1402)

              1.  Valentina
                 married (1387) Louis of Orléans
              2.  Giovanni Maria
                 Duke of Milan (1402–1412)
              3.  Filippo Maria
                Filippo Maria Visconti
                Filippo Maria Visconti was ruler of Milan from 1412 to 1447.-Biography:Filippo Maria Visconti, who had become nominal ruler of Pavia in 1402, succeeded his assassinated brother Gian Maria Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1412. They were the sons of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Gian Maria's predecessor, by...


                 Duke of Milan (1412–1447)

                1.  Bianca Maria
                  Bianca Maria Visconti
                  Bianca Maria Visconti was Duchess of Milan from 1450 to 1468.-Early years:Born near Settimo Pavese, Bianca Maria was the illegitimate daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan and last of the Visconti rulers, and Agnese del Maino, the only person the shy, secluded Filippo ever loved...

                   (illegitimate, by Agnese del Maino)
                   
                  in 1441 married to Francesco I Sforza
                  Francesco I Sforza
                  Francesco I Sforza was an Italian condottiero, the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Italy. He was the brother of Alessandro, with whom he often fought.-Early life:...

                  , later duke of Milan




          3.  Bernabò
            Bernabo Visconti
            Bernabò Visconti was an Italian soldier and statesman, who was Lord of Milan.-Life:He was born in Milan, the son of Stefano Visconti and Valentina Doria. From 1346 to 1349 he lived in exile, until he was called back by his uncle Giovanni Visconti...


             lord of Milan (1354–1385)


      2.  Uberto il Pico (1280?-1315)

        1.  Vercellino 
           podestà of 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...

           (1317) and Novara
          Novara
          Novara is the capital city of the province of Novara in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy, to the west of Milan. With c. 105,000 inhabitants, it is the second most populous city in Piedmont after Turin. It is an important crossroads for commercial traffic along the routes from Milan to Turin...

           (1318–1320).

          1.   Line of the Visconti di Modrone, Marquesses (1694) and later Dukes (1813) of Vimodrone
            Vimodrone
            Vimodrone is a comune in the Province of Milan in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 14 km northeast of Milan...

            , whose members include Luchino Visconti
            Luchino Visconti
            Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard and Death in Venice .-Life:...

             and Eriprando Visconti
            Eriprando Visconti
            Eriprando Visconti di Modrone, Count of Vico Modrone was an Italian film director. He was the nephew of the more famous Luchino Visconti.He married Princess Fracesca Patrizia Ruspoli.-External links:...

            .





  • Visconti of Modrone


    From Uberto, brother of Matteo I, came the lateral branch of Dukes of Modrone. To this family belonged Luchino Visconti
    Luchino Visconti
    Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard and Death in Venice .-Life:...

    , one of the most prominent film directors of Italian neorealist
    Italian neorealism
    Italian neorealism is a style of film characterized by stories set amongst the poor and working class, filmed on location, frequently using nonprofessional actors...

     cinema.

    Other members

    • Pope Gregory X
      Pope Gregory X
      Pope Blessed Gregory X , born Tebaldo Visconti, was Pope from 1271 to 1276. He was elected by the papal election, 1268–1271, the longest papal election in the history of the Roman Catholic Church....

       (1210–1276) was born Teobaldo Visconti in 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...

      .
    • Valentina Visconti
      Valentina Visconti
      Not to be confused with Valentina Visconti, Queen of CyprusValentina Visconti was the wife of Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans, a younger brother of Charles VI of France....

      , elder daughter of Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duchess of Orléans and grandmother of the King Louis XII of France
      Louis XII of France
      Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

      , who conquered Milan as her heir