Bianca of Savoy

Bianca of Savoy (1337– Pavia, 31 December 1387) was Lady of Milan by marriage to Galeazzo II Visconti. She was the only surviving daughter of Aimone, Count of Savoy and Yolande Palaeologina of Montferrat.

Lady of Milan
Died31 December 1387 (aged 49–50)
SpouseGaleazzo II Visconti
IssueGian Galeazzo Visconti
Maria Visconti
Violante Visconti
Bianca Marie di Savoia
FatherAimone, Count of Savoy
MotherYolande Palaeologina of Montferrat

Early lifeEdit

Bianca was the second of five children born to Count Aimone and Yolande, herself the daughter of Theodore I, Marquess of Montferrat (1291–1338) and Genoese noblewoman Argentina Hispanola.

When Bianca was six years old she lost her mother Yolande, who died giving birth on 24 December 1342 to her younger brother Louis, who died in childhood. Six months later on 22 June 1343 her father, Aimone died.[1]

In 1345, negotiations were started for her to marry a son of Edward III of England, to renew the relationship between Savoy and England.[2]

Bianca was raised in the Castle[3] of the Counts of Savoy on the shores of Lake Bourget. In 1345 tragedy struck when Bianca's younger brother John died. This left only one son and heir to Savoy, Bianca's older brother Amadeus VI, the "Green Count" of Savoy. The period was marked by the devastating epidemic of the Black Death that killed off much of the population of Europe between 1347 and 1350.

Lady of MilanEdit

In an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Bianca's uncle John II, Marquess of Montferrat, an alliance was established on the 22 October 1349 between Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy and Giovanni Visconti of Milan. In the agreements, a marriage was arranged between Bianca and Giovanni's nephew Galeazzo II Visconti.[4][5][better source needed]

On 28 September 1350 at Rivoli, Bianca and Galeazzo were married,[6] he was sixteen years her senior. Only weeks after the marriage in October 1350, Galeazzo was asked by his uncle to seize the city of Bologna but his fragile health forced him to leave the conquest.

After moving to Bologna in 1351 their first child was born, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, then in 1352 a daughter, Maria (who died aged ten in April 1362)[7] and then another daughter Violante in 1354.

In 1360 Galeazzo was appointed Imperial vicar by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Pavia fell under the domination of the Visconti family.

Bianca followed her husband here who built the Visconti Castle where she educated, availed herself of illustrious friends, including Francesco Petrarca founder of the Library Visconti, which brought the first copies of Divine Comedy.

When war broke out between Milan and her uncle John II, on the side of the latter was Bianca's brother, Count Amadeus VI. Bianca tried to whatever means to avert quarrels between him and her husband. The conflict ended with a dedication by John II in occupied areas of Lombardy and Piedmont.

Later lifeEdit

When the state of her husband's health deteriorated, the couple relocated to Cortenova. Galeazzo died in 1378. Bianca founded the Franciscan Monastery Cortenova dedicated to St. Clare of Assisi. In the last years of life, Bianca spent time raising her granddaughter, Valentina, whom she taught French and German.

In 1385, together with her son, she participated in a conspiracy against Bernabò Visconti. The conspiracy succeeded, and Bernabò died half a year later in captivity. Bianca's son Gian Galeazzo was then the sole ruler of Milan. In 1386, Violante died. Bianca took the death of her daughter very badly.[8]

Bianca died on 31 December 1387 at the age of 51. She was buried at Pavia Santa Chiara, Pavia.[9]


  1. Gian Galeazzo (November 1351 – 3 September 1402), succeeded his father as Lord of Milan. Married firstly to Isabella of France and secondly to Caterina Visconti.[10][better source needed]
  2. Maria (1352 – April 1362), betrothed to the future Secondotto, Marquess of Montferrat with Asti as her dowry; she died before the wedding took place.
  3. Violante (1354 – November 1386), married firstly to Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, secondly to Secondotto, Marquess of Montferrat and thirdly to Lodovico Visconti.


  • Cox, Eugene L. (1967). The Green Count of Savoy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. LCCN 67-11030.
  1. ^ Cox 1967, p. 31-32.
  2. ^ Cox 1967, p. 58.
  3. ^ The castle, built at the mouth of the Leysse by the grandfather of Bianca, Thomas II of Piedmont. It is now in ruins.
  4. ^ Cox 1967, p. 77-78.
  5. ^ MAREK, Miroslav (March 10, 2006). "Savoy 2". Royal genealogy index. Retrieved July 29, 2010.[self-published source]
  6. ^ Cox 1967, p. 78.
  7. ^ 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 December 15, 2010.
  8. ^ Tolfo, Maria Grazia; Colussi, Paolo (February 6, 2006). "::: Storia di Milano ::: Bianca di Savoia" [::: History of Milan ::: Bianca of Savoy]. Storia di Milano (in Italian). Milano: Storiadimilano. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  9. ^ Cawley, Charles (June 20, 2010), SAVOY, Medieval Lands, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]
  10. ^ MAREK, Miroslav (January 19, 2005). "Visconti 2". Royal genealogy index. Retrieved July 29, 2010.[self-published source]
Preceded by Lady of Milan
Succeeded by