Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua

Not to be confused with his father, Francesco I Gonzaga, ruler of Mantua from 1382 to 1407, who never had the title of Marquess.
"Gianfrancesco Gonzaga" redirects here. For the first count of Sabbioneta, see Gianfrancesco Gonzaga (1446–1496).
Francesco I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua

Portrait of Francesco I Gonzaga, Ambras castle collection, Innsbruck, Austria
Spouse(s) Paola Malatesta
Noble family Gonzaga family
Father Francesco I Gonzaga
Mother Margherita Malatesta
Born 1395
Died 23 September 1444(1444-09-23)

Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga (1395 23 September 1444) was Marquess of Mantua from 1407 to 1444. He was also a condottiero.


Gianfrancesco was the son of Francesco I Gonzaga and Margherita Malatesta. He inherited the rule of Mantua in 1407, when he was 12. In his first years, he was under the patronage of his uncle Carlo Malatesta and, indirectly, of the Republic of Venice. In 1409 he married Paola Malatesta, daughter of Malatesta IV Malatesta of Pesaro, by whom he had two sons, Ludovico, who succeeded him as Marquess of Mantua, and Carlo. He was the first Gonzaga to bear the title of marquess, which he obtained from Emperor Sigismund on 22 September 1433.[1]

He fought for the Papal States and the Malatestas in 1412 and 1417, respectively, and was capitano generale (commander-in-chief) of the Venetian Armies from 1434.[2] Later he left the alliance with Venice and entered at the service of the Visconti of Milan, starting an unsuccessful war against Venice which caused the loss of several Mantuan territories.

During his reign the famous humanist Vittorino da Feltre was invited to Mantua, as well as numerous artists like Pisanello and others, starting the traditional role of the city as a capital of Italian Renaissance. He founded the first workshop in Italy for the manufacture of tapestries.


  1. Brinton, Selwyn. The Gonzaga - Lords of Mantua. London: Methuen & Co. LTD., 1927. pg. 65
  2. Brinton, pg. 65

See also

Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua
Born: 1395 Died: 23 September 1444
Preceded by
Francesco I
Lord of Mantua
Became Marquess
New title Marquess of Mantua
Succeeded by
Ludovico III
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