Bianca Maria Visconti - Grand Duchess of Milan - Story | May 2020


Bianca Maria Visconti is one of the most famous duchess of Milan who lived in the XV century. Her fate is a series of tests and challenges that have blinded a steel lady out of her. Some scientists believe that it was she who was able to give her country so much desired peace. Nevertheless, today only a few remember its existence.

Therefore, let us recover in the footsteps of history and look at how the world in which Maria Visconti lived was. What did she have to go through and what contribution did the duchess make to the development of Milan?


Maria Visconti: a biography of early years

Bianca Maria was born in 1425 in a small village near Bornasco. The mother of the future duchess was Agnes del Marino. Alas, her biography was lost, and maybe completely erased by descendants. It is only known that she was Filippo Visconti's mistress and bore him an illegitimate daughter.

But the Duke of Milan himself was a very famous person. First of all, his fame was due to cold-blooded prudence and cruelty. So, marrying for power, he subsequently accused his spouse of treason and executed her publicly. But he did it not out of jealousy, but in order to forever legitimize his right to the throne.

Alas, marriage to the first wife did not bring Filippo an heir, and therefore the birth of his daughter was very opportune. Moreover, from an early age the girl showed herself to be a very gifted person, which flattered her father very much. Therefore, the Duke did everything possible so that Bianca could get the best possible education.


Engagement with Francesco Sforza

For her father, Maria Visconti was another chess figure that could be used in the political arena. Therefore, it is not surprising that Filippo decided to marry his six-year-old daughter with the thirty-year-old condottiere Francesco Sforza. Such a union was needed in order to tame the famous adventurer and get him to work for the good of Milan.

However, Francesco Sforza himself was not very dedicated to his future father-in-law. He repeatedly went over to the side of the enemy, because of which their marriage with Bianca often found himself on the verge of complete rupture. Yet the thirst to get the title and a decent inheritance outweighed the benefits offered by the enemies. Therefore, on October 24, 1441, Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti were married. It happened in the abbey of San Sigismondo, which is located in Cremona.

Beginning of adult life

At the time of marriage, the war between the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice only gained momentum. For Sforza, these were golden times, as lucrative offers came from both parties to the conflict. Because of this, the young condottier often switched to the side of Milan, then returned to the ranks of the Venetian army.


Maria Visconti all this time obediently followed her husband. And it so happened that in 1442 she was elected regent in Mark. As ruler, she showed herself as a prudent leader who could equally use both force and diplomacy.

The turning point in her life was the death of her father. The death of the Duke of Milan led to civil strife, which plunged the country into chaos. Suppress the riot helped Francesco Sforza. However, he soon received a successful offer from the Venetian rulers and again went over to the side of the enemy.

Duchess of Milan

February 24, 1450 in Milan there was a coup. The power of the people on the duke's throne was set Francesco Sforza. Since then, Bianca Maria Visconti has fully supported her husband and helped him govern the country. Especially in those periods when Sforza was busy with the war with Venice and could not pay enough attention to other public affairs.

The contribution of the Duchess was truly enormous. She not only extinguished all dissatisfaction inside Milan, but also acquired new influential allies. And after the conclusion of the Peace of Lodi in 1454, she completely left her head in social activities.


The sad end of the Duchess

The first blow for Maria Visconti was the notice of the death of her mother, which came to her in 1465. Less than a year later, the same fate overtook her husband, who in recent years was very sick. The title of duke in 1466 passed to the eldest son of Bianca Galeazzo Maria Sforza. As for the Duchess herself, she died on October 28, 1968. Rumor has it that her own son poisoned her, as she was a direct threat to his rule.

However, the story has not forgotten who Maria Visconti was. The photo of this duchess today adorns the covers of many books related to the cultural heritage of Milan. And therefore let us hope that the memory of such a great ruler will not fade away for a long time.

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