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House of Visconti

house of visconti, house of visconti di modrone
Visconti is the family name of two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages There are two distinct Visconti families: the first one chronologically 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 The second rose to power in Milan, where they ruled from 1277 to 1447 and where several collateral branches still exist Pope Gregory X, who reigned from 1271 to 1276, was a member of the House of Visconti The renowned director Luchino Visconti is a scion of this latter family

The Visconti of Gallura used a cock as their symbol Gallura meaning 'land of cocks', whereas the later Visconti of Milan used a biscione a great serpent swallowing a Saracen, or, according to another version, on the contrary giving life to a child This symbol is still closely connected with Milan

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


  • 1 Visconti of Pisa and Sardinia
    • 11 Visconti rulers of Gallura
  • 2 Visconti of Milan
    • 21 Visconti rulers of Milan2
    • 22 Visconti of Milan family tree
  • 3 Visconti of Modrone
  • 4 Other members
  • 5 References

Visconti of Pisa and Sardiniaedit

Coat of Arms of the Visconti of Gallura depicting a cock

The first Visconti of note in Pisa was Alberto, who bore the title patrician Alberto's son, Eldizio, bore the titles patrician and consul from 1184 to 1185 It was Eldizio's sons, Lamberto and Ubaldo I, 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

In 1212 various factions, pro- and anti-Visconti clashed for control over Pisa In mid-January 1213, William I of Cagliari led a coalition of anti-Visconti forces to victory in battle near Massa over the combined forces of Lucca and the Visconti under Ubaldo Afterward, Pisa divided power between four rectores, 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, who became the mother of Lamberto and Ubaldo In 1207, Lamberto married Elena, the heiress of Barisone II of Gallura, thus securing control over the northeastern corner of Sardinia with his capital at Civita In 1215, he and Ubaldo established their hegemony over the Giudicato of Cagliari in the south of the island as well Through advantageous marriages, Lamberto's son, Ubaldo II, 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 and Sardinia Lacon and Bas-Serra

Visconti rulers of Galluraedit

  • Lambert 1207–1225
  • Ubaldo 1225–1238
  • John 1238–1275
  • Nino 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 1298–1308 stepsister of Azzone Visconti of the Milan line

Visconti of Milanedit

Depiction of the Biscione swallowing the child, coat of arms of the House of Visconti, on the Archbishops' palace in Piazza Duomo, in Milan, Italy

The effective founder of the Visconti of Milan, Ottone, wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre family in 12771

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, 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 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; late chronicler Galvano Fiamma confirms this version Decades before that, before 1070, they had gained the title of viscount 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; 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, first as Lords, then, from 1395, with the mighty Gian Galeazzo who endeavored to unify Northern Italy and Tuscany, as Dukes Visconti rule in Milan ended with the death of Filippo Maria Visconti in 1447 He was succeeded by a short-lived republic and then by his son-in-law Francesco I Sforza, who established the reign of the House of Sforza23

Visconti rulers of Milan2edit

  • 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 1354–1385
  • Galeazzo II Visconti 1354–1378
  • Matteo II Visconti 1354–1355
  • Gian Galeazzo Visconti 1378–1402
  • Giovanni Maria Visconti 1402–1412
  • Filippo Maria Visconti 1412–1447
    • Bianca Maria Visconti married Francesco I Sforza

Visconti of Milan family treeedit

                                              Uberto Visconti
1207 †1295
1230 †1276
                          Matteo I il Magno9
1250 †1322
                          Uberto il Pico
1280 †1315
1277 †1328
1287 †1349
1288 †1327
1290 †1354
1302 †1339
  Matteo II15
1319 †1355
  Galeazzo II16
1320 †1378
1323 †1385
  Line of Visconti
of Modrone
                                  Gian Galeazzo19
1351 †1402
                          Giovanni Maria20
1388 †1412
          Filippo Maria21
1392 †1447
                                          Bianca Maria22
1425 †1468
  Francesco Sforza
1401 †1466
                                              House of Sforza  
Coat of arms

Visconti of Modroneedit

From Uberto, brother of Matteo I, came the lateral branch of Dukes of Modrone To this family belonged Luchino Visconti, one of the most prominent film directors of Italian neorealist cinema

Other membersedit

  • Federico Visconti 1617–1693, Cardinal and Archbishop of Milan from 1681 to 1693
  • Filippo Maria Visconti archbishop 1721-1801, Archbishop of Milan from 1784 to 1801
  • Gaspare Visconti, Archbishop of Milan from 1584 to 1595
  • Roberto Visconti, Archbishop of Milan from 1354 to 1361
  • Valentina Visconti, elder daughter of Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duchess of Orléans and grandmother of the King Louis XII of France, who conquered Milan as her heir
  • Pope Gregory X, born Teobaldo Visconti, was the Pope from 1271 to 1276


  1. ^ a b Tolfo, Maria Grazia; Colussi, Paolo February 7, 2006 "Storia di Milano ::: I Visconti:" History of Milan::: The Visconti Storia di Milano in Italian Milano: Storiadimilano Retrieved September 16, 2010 
  2. ^ a b c Hale, John Rigby 1981 A concise encyclopaedia of the Italian Renaissance London: Thames & Hudson pp 338–341, 352 OCLC 636355191 
  3. ^ a b Williams, George L 1998 "Two: The Papal Families at the Close of the Middle Ages, 1200-1471" Papal genealogy: The families and descendants of the popes Jefferson, NC: McFarland pp 33–35 ISBN 978-0-7864-0315-8 OCLC 301275208 Retrieved September 16, 2010 
  4. ^ Marek, Miroslav January 19, 2005 "Visconti 1" GenealogyEu Retrieved September 16, 2010 self-published sourcebetter source needed
  5. ^ Marek, Miroslav January 19, 2005 "Visconti 2" GenealogyEu Retrieved September 16, 2010 self-published sourcebetter source needed
  6. ^ Bishop of Ventimiglia 1251 - 1262
  7. ^ archbishop of Milan 1262, lord of Milan 1277-78 and 1282-85
  8. ^ Console di giustizia in Milan 1236
  9. ^ Capitano del popolo of Milan 1287-1298, lord of Milan 1287-1302 e 1311-1322
  10. ^ Lord of Milan 1322-1327
  11. ^ Lord of Milan 1339-1349
  12. ^ Archbishop of Milan 1339, lord of Milan 1339-1354, lord of Bologna and Genoa 1331-1354
  13. ^ Podestà of Vercelli 1317 and Novara 1318-1320 Line of the Visconti di Modrone marquesses of Vimodrone 1694, later Dukes of Vimodrone 1813 whose members include the film directors Luchino Visconti and Eriprando Visconti
  14. ^ Lord of Milan 1329-1339
  15. ^ Lord of Milan 1354-1355
  16. ^ Lord of Milan 1354-1378
  17. ^ Lord of Milan 1354-1385
  18. ^ Presumed Lord of Bologna 1355-1360
  19. ^ Lord of Milan 1378-1395 and Duke of Milan 1395-1402
  20. ^ Duke of Milan 1402-1412
  21. ^ Duke of Milan 1412-1447
  22. ^ Illegitimate, by Agnese del Maino; in 1441 married to Francesco I Sforza, later duke of Milan

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