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Born in Naples into one of the most important families in the Kingdom of Naples, he spent his youth and was educated under the tutelage of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza at the court of Milan. Ambassador of Duke Massimiliano Sforza to the Papal court in 1513 he was created an Apostolic Protonotary in 1515; in the same year he took part as orator of the Duke of Milan to the V Lateran Council.
After the election of Emperor Charles V he entered into his service and was ambassador to England and to Venice. In 1524 he was created Bishop of Catania, but resigned three times in favour of other members of his family. In the same year he was enfeoffed with large estates in the Duchy of Milan (County of Vespolate 1524–1530, County of Gallarate 1530). He was created a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church by Pope Paul III on 21 May 1535, but his name was not announced publicly (it was held in pectore by the Pope). He was welcomed at the Papal Court and received his red hat on 12 November 1535, and on 15 November given the gold ring and granted the title of Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria in Aquiro.
In 1536 he was appointed by Charles V Governor of Milan but he only held power on civil and economic matters, the military power being given to Alfonso d'Avalos.
- Eubel, III, p. 24, no. 9, with notes 7 and 8.
- Eubel, Conradus (ed.) (1923). Hierarchia catholica, Tomus 3 (in Latin) (second ed.). Münster: Libreria Regensbergiana.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Miranda, Salvador. "CARACCIOLO, Marino Ascanio (1468-1538)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University. OCLC 53276621.
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