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Bona of Savoy

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Bona of Savoy
Duchess consort of Milan
Tenure22 July 1468 – 26 December 1476
Born10 August 1449
Avigliana, Turin
Died23 November 1503 (aged 54)
Fossano, Piedmont, Italy
SpouseGaleazzo Maria Sforza
IssueGian Galeazzo Sforza
Bianca Maria Sforza
Hermes Maria Sforza
Anna Maria Sforza
FatherLouis, Duke of Savoy
MotherAnne of Cyprus

Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan (10 August 1449 – 23 November 1503) was Duchess consort of Milan as the second spouse of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan. She served as regent of Milan during the minority of her son 1476–1481.


Born in Avigliana, Turin, Bona was a daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy and Anne de Lusignan of Cyprus. She was one of nineteen children. Her many siblings included: Amadeus IX of Savoy, Philip II, Duke of Savoy, Louis of Savoy, Count of Geneva, Marguerite of Savoy and Charlotte of Savoy, who married King Louis XI.

In 1464, Bona was to have been betrothed to Edward IV of England, until his secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was revealed. She showed her resentment in later years by refusing to contemplate a marriage between either of her daughters and one of Edward's sons. She married Galeazzo Maria Sforza on 9 May 1468. An alliance between the Sforza and the royal house of France had been rumoured from as early as 1460, and "in June 1464 Bona of Savoy was officially offered to Galeazzo by letters from the King of France and the Duke of Savoy."

Bona's husband was assassinated, on 26 December 1476 at the age of 32 by three young noblemen on the porch of the cathedral church of San Stefano in Milan. Galeazzo was succeeded after his 10-year reign by his 7-year-old son Gian Galeazzo Sforza (1469–1494) under the regency of Bona. But dissensions soon arose between the regent and her brother-in-law, Ludovico Maria Sforza, nicknamed "Il Moro" (the Moor).

In the first encounter Bona and her chief counsellor, Cicco Simonetta, were victorious, and Ludovico and his brothers were made to leave the city. In order to obtain his re-admission, Ludovico took advantage of the rivalry between the young Ferrarese Antonio Tassini, the favourite of Bona, and her chief counsellor, the ducal secretary Cicco Simonetta. The fall and execution of Simonetta followed. From 1479 the real government of Milan lay in the hands of Ludovico, whose power was further secured in 1480, when he seized his nephew Gian, deprived him of tItle to the duchy and assumed overt control. Consequently, Bona was obliged to leave Milan and Ludovico was left to rule unchallenged.[1]

Bona of Savoy commissioned the Sforza Book of Hours, which was painted in about 1490 by a famous court artist, Giovan Pietro Birago. She used the book, which contained devotional texts and is considered to be one of the most outstanding treasures of the Italian Renaissance.[2]




  1. ^ The Sforza Domination.
  2. ^ Louise Jury (1 October 2004) Treasure united with the page it lost 500 years ago.
Preceded byDorotea Gonzaga Duchess of Milan 1468–1476 Succeeded byIsabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan
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Bona of Savoy
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