The family of the Visconti di Modrone

The family of the Visconti di Modrone
The Visconti family of Milan go back to the 13th century but they became lords of the city with the brothers Giovanni and Luchino in the early 14th century.
The power of the lords of Milan continued to increase, and Gian Galeazzo Visconti authorised the construction of the castle of Grazzano at the end of the 14th century.
The line of Grazzano descends from Uberto, brother of Matteo, lord of Milan from 1287.
From Uberto are descended a branch of the Visconti who were created Counts of Lonate Pozzolo thanks to a grant by Galeazzo Maria Sforza in the late 15th century; they were created Marquesses of Vimodrone at the end of the 18th century.
The name was later transformed into "di Modrone", a corruption of the old name Vimodrone: Vicus Modronis.
In 1840 Uberto Visconti received the title of Duke, inherited by his firstborn, while the other sons received the title of count, consignore, or patrician of Milan.
The village of Grazzano Visconti as we see it today is the result of the transformations wrought by Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone who, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, restored the castle and began construction of the village.

Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone

Count Giuseppe Visconti, Duke of Grazzano Visconti, was born in Milan on 10 November 1879. He married Carla Erba, and they had seven children, among them the famous Italian Neorealist film director Luchino Visconti.
In 1906, after having restored the castle and laid out the park, he decided to begin construction of a village to preserve and develop crafts, artisan and agricultural activities. In this way Grazzano Visconti had its beginnings.
He instituted the Fondazione Giuseppe Visconti with the purpose of combatting malaria in Apulia, Sardinia and Tuscany. He then extended his philanthropic activites to Grazzano, setting up the Istituzione, or artistic craft school that provided an education to whole generations of boys from around Piacenza.
He was a director of Carlo Erba pharmaceuticals, where he created the Gi.Vi.Emme, which produced perfumes. He started the magazine Italica, dedicated to fashion, and founded the Compagnia del Teatro di Milano, a theatre company directed by Marco Praga.
Patron of cultural and social associations, he was made a Commendatore della Corona d'Italia (Commander of the Crown of Italy), and was decorated with silver and gold medals of recognition.
To crown his achievements, in 1938 the King of Italy granted him the title of Duke of Grazzano Visconti.


Luchino Visconti was born in Milan in 1906, the fourth of the seven children of Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, the creator of the neomediaeval village of Grazzano Visconti.
Luchino loved the theatre from an early age, enjoying arranging shows with his friends and sisters, also here in Grazzano Visconti. Then he discovered the cinema.

During his career he produced some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian cinema, including "Obsession", "Rocco and his Brothers" and "The Leopard".
In 1972 he suffered the paralysis of a leg and an arm and he died on 17 March 1976 at his home in Rome.

Luchino Visconti's films:
Obsession (1943)
La terra trema (1948)
Bellissima (1951)
We, the Women (1953)
Senso (1954)
Le notti bianche (1957)
Rocco and his Brothers (1960)
Boccaccio '70 (1962)
The Leopard (1963)
Sandra (1965)
The Witches (1967)
The Stranger (1967)
The Damned (1969)
Death in Venice (1971)
Ludwig (1972)
Conversation Piece (1974)
The Innocent (1976)
Related items
  • Castle of Grazzano Visconti
    In 1395 Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, authorised his sister Beatrice, married to the Piacenza nobleman Giovanni Anguissola, to build a castle on their property at Grazzano.
  • Impipatene e guarda in alto - the curious motto of Grazzano
    The motto of Grazzano is an example of the sense of humour of the man who created it, the Duke Giuseppe Visconti.
  • Luchino Visconti
    Luchino Visconti was the fourth son of Duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone (the creator of Grazzano) and of his wife Carla Erba, owner of the largest pharmaceutical company in Italy at that time.

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