Visconti family

   The Visconti became the predominant family of Milan when in 1277 Ottone Visconti, the local archbishop, wrested control of the city from Napo de la Torre. In 1297, Ottone arranged for the appointment of his great-nephew Matteo as Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People) and in 1311 Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII also made Matteo his imperial vicar. With this, Matteo was able to establish his lordship over the Lombard territory. He married off his son Galeazzo to Beatrice d'Este, a union that granted the Visconti a title of nobility. In the mid-14th century, the Visconti also married into the French and English monarchic houses, confirming their position of power. In 1395, they obtained the title of dukes from Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslaus and in this capacity they ruled Milan until 1447, when Filippo Maria Visconti died without a male heir. Francesco Sforza, husband to Filippo Maria's daughter Bianca, inherited his father-in-law's dominion and, with this, the Sforza ruled Milan, with some interruptions, until 1535 when the family died out.
   See also Visconti, Giangaleazzo.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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