Francesco I Sforza

Known as the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Francesco was born in San Miniato, Tuscany. He fought alongside his father since he was 18, thus developing his strength and military skills. Later, he took part in battles for the Kingdom of Naples, the Papal States and the Duke of Milan, Filippo Visconti. In 1432, a year after Sforza led the Milanese army against Venice, Visconti's daughter Bianca was betrothed to him, and he married her in 1441. After several other battles, in turn for abandoning the Venetians he gained the title of the capitano generale (commander-in-chief) of the Duchy of Milan. Eventually, in 1450 he became the Duke of Milan, though he was never officially investitured by the Holy Roman Emperor. All in all, Sforza was a successful ruler, a great diplomat, and a friend of Cosimo de Medici, who lived in Florence at the time. Interestingly, Machiavelli mentioned Francesco Sforza several times in his famous work 'The Price'.