Francesco Ravizza

Francesco Ravizza (1616–1675) was an Italian archbishop and diplomat, Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal from 1670 to 1673.

Francesco Ravizza
Bishop of Sidon
ChurchCatholic Church
Seetitular Bishop of Sidon
Appointed19 March 1667
Term ended22 May 1675
PredecessorGiovanni Battista Scanaroli
SuccessorGilbert-Gaspard de Montmorin
Other postsApostolic Nuncio to Portugal
Consecration20 March 1667 (Bishop)
by Card. Neri Corsini
Personal details
Born1616 (1616)
Died22 May 1675(1675-05-22) (aged 58–59)
BuriedSt. Peter's Basilica


Francesco Ravizza was born to a humble family in Orvieto in 1616.[1] In that town he worked in the sewing shops of his parents, but soon he moved to Rome seeking his fortune. In Rome he succeeded to enter in the service of Olimpia Maidalchini, the powerful sister-in-law of reigning Pope Innocent X. At the death of Innocent X, Ravizza participated to the 1655 papal conclave as secretary of Cardinal Carlo Gualterio; in that conclave Ravizza used in secret to send notes out of the conclave to Olimpia Maidalchini: for this reason he was arrested and passed some time in prison till he was forgiven by the new Pope Alexander VII.[1]

Under the new Pope, Ravizza became personal secretary of the cardinal nephew Flavio Chigi. On 28 November 1661 he was appointed as referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace (which made him a prelate). On 31 December 1662 he entered in Chapter of St. Peter's Basilica.[1] In 1664 Ravizza went with cardinal Flavio Chigi in his extraordinary legation in France. On July 14, 1665 he was appointed, succeeding Domenico Salvetti, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives,[2] an office that he never actually practiced. On February 17, 1666 he became secretary of the powerful Sacra Consulta, the most important administrative tribunal of the Papal States, a post that he held until February 22, 1668.

On 19 March 1667, shortly before the death of the Pope, he was appointed titular Bishop of Sidon.[3] The episcopal consecration followed on 20 March in St. Peter's Basilica by the hands of Cardinal Neri Corsini.[4]

During the 1667 papal conclave Ravizza schemed in favour of cardinal Angelo Celsi and during the 1669-70 papal conclave he played a hidden, but key role in supporting the Spanish faction, being however stopped by cardinal Jean François Paul de Gondi.[1]

The Treaty of Lisbon (1668) allowed the Pope to restore the ecclesiastic jurisdiction in Portugal, previously placed in hold due to the conflict between the House of Braganza and the House of Habsburg: in 1659 had died the last bishop in Portugal.[5] On 12 August 1670 Francesco Ravizza was nominated Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal.[6] He reached Lisboa on 4 May 1671 after had passed in Paris to obtain the support of France in negotiating with the prince-regent Peter II of Portugal. In Lisboa Ravizza performed many episcopal consecrations in order to re-establish a hierarchy there, but he found difficulties to re-establish also the ecclesiastic tribunals.[1]

He finished this diplomatic assignment on April 12, 1673, when he was replaced by the future Cardinal Marcello Durazzo. Back in Rome Ravizza was appointed secretary of Propaganda Fide. He died in Rome on 22 May 1675 and was buried in the Sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican.[3]

A short book ascribed to the anti-Catholic Gregorio Leti describes Ravizza as a man full of plots and tricks.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Giordano, Silvana (2016). "Ravizza, Francesco". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Volume 86: Querenghi–Rensi (in Italian). Rome: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana.
  2. ^ Marini, Luigi Gaetano (1825). Memorie istoriche degli archivi della santa sede (in Italian). Rome: Tipogr. Vaticana. p. 38.
  3. ^ a b David Cheney. "Bishop Francesco Ravizza". Retrieved 12 Jan 2019.
  4. ^ Charles Bransom. "Another change to the d'Estouteville line". Retrieved 12 Jan 2019.
  5. ^ Paiva, José (2006). Os bispos de Portugal e do império : 1495-1777 (in Portuguese). Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra. p. 63. ISBN 9728704852.
  6. ^ Karttunen, Liisi (1912). Les nonciatures apostoliques permanentes de 1650 a 1800 (in French). Geneve: E. Chaulmontet.
  7. ^ Leti, Gregorio. Romei, Danilo (ed.). "Conclave fatto per la sede vacante d'Alessandro VII" (PDF). nuovorinascimento. Retrieved 12 Jan 2019.