Galeazzo II Visconti
Galeazzo II Visconti was a member of the Visconti
House of Visconti
Visconti is the family name of two important Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages. There are two distinct Visconti families: The first one 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...

 dynasty and a ruler of 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 ,...

, 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...



He was the son of Stefano Visconti
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....

 and Valentina Doria.

In 1343 he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Two years later he was ousted by his uncle Luchino, returning under archbishop Giovanni Visconti, who made him governor of 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,...


In 1350 he married Bianca of Savoy
Bianca of Savoy
Bianca of Savoy was the only surviving daughter of Aimone, Count of Savoy and his wife Yolande Palaeologina of Montferrat...

, daughter of Aimone, Count of Savoy
Aimone, Count of Savoy
Aymon , surnamed the Peaceful, was Count of Savoy from 1329 to 1343. His father was Amadeus V, Count of Savoy and he was the younger brother of Edward, Count of Savoy....

. Six years later he fought alongside his brother 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...

 against the Este and the Gonzaga
House of Gonzaga
The Gonzaga family ruled Mantua in Northern Italy from 1328 to 1708.-History:In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua, and in 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Duchy of Monferrato through marriage...

, with Pandolfo II Malatesta
Pandolfo II Malatesta
Pandolfo II Malatesta was an Italian condottiero.The son of Malatesta II Malatesta, he fought under Werner von Urslingen and Gil de Albornoz. Later served Galeazzo II Visconti of Milan, but raised the jealousy of Bernabò Visconti and fled to the Marche. Later held a condotta for Florence against...

 as commander of his troops. Winner at Casorate, he was able to expand his territories. At the death of his brother Matteo II, Galeazzo obtained the western part of Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, while Bernabò received the eastern one.

He was handsome and distinguished, the patron of Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

, the founder of the University of Pavia
University of Pavia
The University of Pavia is a university located in Pavia, Lombardy, Italy. It was founded in 1361 and is organized in 9 Faculties.-History:...

 and a gifted diplomat. He married his daughter Violante
Violante Visconti
Violante Visconti was the second of three children of Galeazzo II Visconti, Lord of Milan and Pavia, and Bianca of Savoy. Her father gave to her the provinces of Alba, Mondovì, Kenites, Cherasco and Demonte as an inheritance...

 to Lionel of Antwerp, son of Edward III of England
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England from 1327 until his death and is noted for his military success. Restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II, Edward III went on to transform the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe...

, giving a dowry of 200,000 gold florins; and his son 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...

 to Isabelle, daughter of King John of France
John II of France
John II , called John the Good , was the King of France from 1350 until his death. He was the second sovereign of the House of Valois and is perhaps best remembered as the king who was vanquished at the Battle of Poitiers and taken as a captive to England.The son of Philip VI and Joan the Lame,...


Galeazzo faced several rebellions during his reign. In 1362 his health worsened and he moved his court to Pavia
Pavia , the ancient Ticinum, is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000...

, which he had reconquered two years earlier, and where he died in 1378.

He was infamous for instituting the quaresima, a particularly sadistic form of torture, aping ecclesiastical terminology, which preceded the execution on the wheel of state offenders and lasted forty days, alternating one day of the most atrocius torment and one of rest. Almost invariably the condemned died before being brought to the wheel.

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