Ludovico III Gonzaga of Mantua, also spelled Lodovico was the ruler of the Italian city of Mantua from 1444 to his death in 1478. Ludovico was the son of Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga and Paola Malatesta, Ludovico followed the path of his father, Gianfrancesco, fighting as a condottiero from as early as 1432, when Gianfrancesco was vice-commander of Francesco Bussones army. In 1433, he married Barbara of Brandenburg, niece of emperor Sigismund, starting from 1436 he entered the service of the Visconti of the Duchy of Milan. The result was that Gianfrancesco exiled Ludovico from Mantua, together with his wife, however, in 1438 Gianfrancesco himself was hired by the Visconti, and reconciled with Ludovico in 1441. Ludovico succeeded to the marquisate of Mantua in 1444, although part of the family went to his brothers Carlo, Gianlucido. At the time, the Mantuan state was reduced in size and in poor conditions after years of war and large expenses. From 1445 to 1450 Ludovico served as condottiero for Milan, Florence, Venice and Naples, in 1448 he took part in the battle of Caravaggio, and was forced to flee. In 1449 he entered the service of Venice in the league formed with Florence against Milan, in 1450 he received permission to lead an army for King Alfonso of Naples in Lombardy, with the intent of gaining some possessions for himself. However, Francesco Sforza, the new duke of Milan, enticed him with the promise of Lonato, Peschiera and Asola, formerly Mantuan territories, Venice responded by sacking Castiglione delle Stiviere and hiring Ludovicos brother, Carlo. On 14 June 1453 Ludovico routed the troops of Carlo at Goito, the Peace of Lodi obliged Ludovico to give back all his conquests, and to renounce definitively his claim to the three cities. However, he obtained his brothers land after Carlos childless death in 1456, however, the pope was not satisfied with the host city, writing, The place was marshy and unhealthy, and the heat burnt up everything, the wine was unpalatable and the food unpleasant. However, the council ended on a note of personal prestige for Ludovico with the elevation of his son Francesco to the purple. From 1466 Ludovico was more or less constantly at the service of the Sforza of Milan and he died in Goito in 1478, during a plague. He was buried in Mantua cathedral, on the orders of his father, Ludovicos education had been entrusted to the humanist Vittorino da Feltre. Vittorino undertook the enterprise in the interests of the commonwealth for. The education of a prince would benefit the people he ruled. The teaching was markedly moral and religious and contained a vein of laical asceticism almost, among the famous humanists invited to the city was the Florentine Leon Battista Alberti, who designed the San Sebastiano church and the San Andrea church. Also, in 1460, Ludovico appointed Andrea Mantegna as court artist to the Gonzaga family, Ludovico is featured in the Treatise on Architecture, from circa 1465, by the Florentine sculptor-architect Antonio di Pietro Averlino, better known as Filarete
The Court of Mantua, detail: Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua
Coin of Ludovico III Gonzaga (1475).
Portrait l. of Ludovico III Gonzaga. Electrotype, medal by Antonio Pisano (Pisanello), 1395 Pisa - 1455 Rome (obverse).