Visconti was the name of an illustrious family of Lombardy, which separated itself from the sovereignty of Milan at the close of the 13th century. The following members are of ecclesiastical importance:
1. GIOVANNI DE, fourth son of Matteo the Great, was born in 1290, and, having entered the monastic life, was made cardinal by the antipope Nicholas V (1329), and became bishop of Novara (1330). In 1317 he had been nominated to the see of Milan, and in 1333 he secured authority from John XXII to take charge of that diocese, and finally (July 17,1342) from Clement VI the title of archbishop. In 1350 he ransomed the city of Bologna from the papal troops, and in 1353 he for a while successfully resisted the political combination against him, but in the midst of these events he died, at Milan, Oct. 5, 1354.
2. GIUSEPPE, born about 1570, entered the ecclesiastic ranks, and was one of the four doctors chosen by cardinal F. Borromeo to arrange the books and manuscripts of his new Ambrosian library. He fulfilled all his duties with zeal and intelligence. He died at Milan in 1633, leaving a few works, for which see Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.
3. OTTONE DE, real founder of the political power of the family, was born in 1208 at Ucogne, a village between the Great Lake and the Simplon. He early attached himself to cardinal Ottaviano Ubaldini, who presented him to pope Urban IV, and he was accordingly appointed archbishop of. Milan, July 12, 1262. His administration was a stormy one during the contest against the Guelphs, and he finally resigned his political affairs to his grand-nephew Matteo (surnamed the Great). He died at the Convent Chiaravalla, Aug. 8, 1295. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.