Gian Galeazzo Visconti

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Attributed to Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis
Bernabò Visconti with his wife Beatrice Regina della Scala , detail of a fresco by Andrea di Bonaiuto from the Cappella Spagnuolo , Santa Maria Novella , Florence . Barnabò Visconti is the uncle of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. He was the victim of an assassination by his nephew Gian Galeazzo.

Gian Galeazzo Visconti (also Giangaleazzo Visconti or outdated Johann Galeaz (zo) Visconti ; * October 16, 1351 in Pavia ; †  September 3, 1402 in Melegnano ) was the most powerful Visconti . In 1378, after the death of his father Galeazzo II Visconti , he became co-ruler in Milan alongside his uncle Bernabò Visconti . In May 1385 he took over the entire power in a coup d'état, became sole ruler and a little later had his uncle Bernabò poisoned.


Gian Galeazzo Visconti laid the foundation stone for the cathedral of Milan , had the Certosa and the bridge over the Ticino built in Pavia , promoted the University of Pavia , founded the library there and had the University of Piacenza restored. He also completed the magnificent palace there, which his father Galeazzo had already begun, and moved his library and his large collection of relics of the saints there. His administration was excellent, he was an able and economically-minded ruler and was considered one of the richest princes of his time.

With the aim of getting all of Northern Italy into his hands, he conquered Verona and Vicenza in 1387 and Padua in 1388 . He threatened the cohesion of a hostile league at times by building dams on the Mincio Mantua and in the south Tuscany , when the communes at odds with Florence and the Ghibelline feudal lords entered his clientele. In 1399/1400 he even acquired the official signory of Pisa , Siena and Perugia . His preparatory warfare around Padua, which had been liberated from the League again in 1390 and had seen the Carrara return, saw dams built in the summer of 1402 to divert the Brenta into the Bacchiglione . In particular , he bloody refused the Italian march of the Germans and Ruprecht in 1401/02, besides - in the previous years - some interventions under Count Jean d'Armagnac and under Stephan III. from Bavaria. The latter were dynastically related to the uncle Bernabò Visconti, who fell in 1385, and his children or grandchildren.

Gian Galeazzo was at the height of his power, had seized Bologna at the end of June 1402 and threatened to advance across the Apennines to Pistoia and Florence when he died of the plague on September 3, 1402 at the age of 50 . His sons from his second marriage, Giovanni Maria Visconti and Filippo Maria Visconti , were still children at the time and came under the protection of the Condottiere Facino Cane de Casale . Most of his conquests were lost to his selfish generals. In addition, Florence was able to subjugate Pisa during the uncertain period, while Venice had a free hand against Padua.

In a long-term perspective, Gian Galeazzo Visconti's connection between his daughter Valentina Visconti and Louis de Valois , the Duke of Orléans , goes back to the marriage contract, the loss of the Visconti in his line entitled the Orléans to inheritance. This was precarious at the latest after the death of Filippo Maria Visconti in 1447 and the successor to Francesco Sforza, legitimized only through the bastardess Bianca Maria Visconti, and was one of the reasons for France's threats and finally for the conquest of Milan in 1499/1500 until the end of the 15th century. From the double game of an insurance against France or the imperial rule , the increase to Duke of Milan granted by the Roman-German King Wenzel in 1395 for a payment of 100,000 florins is also worth mentioning . Attached, the county of Pavia was assigned to the duchy and completed in 1397 by an increase to Duke of Lombardy. The financial strength of Gian Galeazzo based on tax receipts was at least 1.2 million guilders , sometimes even double.

Dominions at the time of Gian Galeazzo Visconti's death (light green)

Marriages and offspring

Gian Galeazzo Visconti's first marriage in June 1360 was Isabelle de Valois, Princess of France (born October 1, 1348 in Vincennes Castle ; † September 11, 1372 in Pavia ), daughter of John II. "Le Bon" (the good), King of France (1350–1364) and his wife, Jutta of Luxembourg , Princess of Bohemia (* 1315 ; † 1349 ). In his second marriage, Gian Galeazzo Visconti married his cousin, Caterina Visconti (* 1360 - 17 October 1404 ), a daughter of his uncle Bernabò Visconti (* 1323 - † 1385 ), Lord of Milan etc. and on October 2, 1380 Beatrice (Regina) della Scala (* 1361 ; † June 18, 1384 ), daughter of Mastino II. della Scala , Lord of Verona .

Offspring from 1st marriage:

Offspring from 2nd marriage:

  • One daughter (June 1385 - July 9, 1385 in Pavia)
  • Giovanni Maria Visconti (7 September 1388 - 16 May 1412 murdered in San Gottardo), 2nd Duke of Milan (1402–1412), married Antonia Malatesta, daughter of Andrea Malatesta, Lord of Cesena, etc. in 1408. and the Rengarda Alidosi († September 1401), a daughter of Bertrando Alidosi († before 1391), the fourth lord of Imola from the house of Alidosi and Elisa Tarlati. The marriage remained childless.
  • Filippo Maria Visconti (born September 23, 1392 - † August 13, 1447 ), 3rd Duke of Milan (1412-1447), was married twice. On July 24, 1412 he married the widow of the condottiere Facino Cane de Casale Beatrice di Ventimiglia-Lascaris (* 1372; † beheaded September 13, 1418) and on September 24, 1428 he married Mary of Savoy (January 1411; † February 22, 1469), a daughter of Amadeus VIII., 1st Duke of Savoy (1416–1440) (later antipope Felix V (1439–1449)). Filippo Maria Visconti only had offspring from his relationship with Agnese del Maino († after August 13, 1447), a daughter of Ambrosio del Maino.
    • Bianca Maria Visconti (born March 31, 1425, † October 23, 1468 in Cremona ) was the only surviving child of her father, was legitimized and was therefore considered to be the "heiress" of the Duchy of Milan. She married on October 25, 1441 in Cremona Francesco Sforza who was Duke of Milan from 1450 to 1466 and became the progenitor of the Dukes of Milan from the House of Sforza.

Offspring from the relationship with Agnese Mantegazza:

  • Gabriele Maria I. Visconti (* 1385; † beheaded on December 15, 1407 in Genoa ), 1402 Lord of Pisa , Sarzana a . Cremona , deposed in 1405.
    • Giacopo Visconti (* 1405 out of wedlock; † after 1446), Lord of Tortona and Valenza, married Caterina Rossi dei Conti di San Secondo (2 sons)

Offspring from an unknown relationship:

  • Antonio Visconti († after 1414), 1414 Lord of Melegnano, Bescapè e Belgiojoso


Web links

List of rulers of Milan

Commons : Gian Galeazzo Visconti  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Charles Cawley: "Medieval Lands" [1]
predecessor Office successor
- Duke of Milan
Giovanni Maria Visconti