One of the eight chief noble families in Milan. Important members of this family, which flourished from the 13th to the 20th century, were generals, cardinals, and bibliophiles. The most famous member, Gian Giacomo the Great, b. Milan, 1441; d. Chartres, France, 1518; served in the regency for Gian Galeazzo sforza. In 1476 he traveled to the Holy Land with two other Milanese, a journey rather usual for wealthy Milanese at the time. When he fell out of favor with Ludovico il Moro, he entered the service of Ferdinand II of Aragon in Naples. After the expedition of Charles VIII of France into Italy, Trivulzio went to France. He returned to Italy with King Louis XII, who rewarded him with the titles, marshal of France, marquis of Vigevano, and count of Mesocco and appointed him governor of Milan. The Swiss defeated Trivulzio at Novara (1513), but in 1515 he won a victory for France at Marignano. He was a patron of writers in Milan. He and his grandson were the first members of the family who were permitted to coin money. Teodoro, b. 1474, d. 1551, was another marshal of France. Alessandro, b. 1773, d. 1805, served under Napoleon.
Five members of the family became cardinals (the first date given being that of their cardinalate). Antonio, 1500, d. 1509, the brother of Teodoro, was elevated according to the wish of Louis XII. Their nephew, Agostino, 1517, d. 1548, served as legate to France for Pope paul iii. Scaramuzza, 1517, d. 1527, nephew of Gian Giacomo, taught law at the universities of Pavia and Padua, acted as adviser for Louis XII, and lost all his income from Lombardy because he supported the French. His nephew, Antonio, 1557, d. 1559, noted for his learning, served as nuncio to France and Venice, and as legate to King Henry II of France in an attempt to bring about peace between France and Spain. Teodoro (or Gian Giacomo Teodoro ), 1629, d. 1657, began his career as general for King Philip III of Spain. It was unusual for a Milanese to be trusted and given offices by Spain, but the cardinal served as King Philip IV's viceroy in Sicily and Sardinia, governor of Milan, and ambassador in Rome. Three titles were conferred on him: grandee of Spain, illustrious, and Prince of the Empire.
A strong tradition in the family was its interest in learning. Gian Giacomo the Great was no exception. Three inventories of books that minor members possessed before 1500 have been published. With books inherited and purchased, Alessandro Teodoro, b. 1694, d. 1763, founded a library; Abbé Carlo, b. 1715, d. 1789, his brother, assisted him. Succeeding generations added to the collection until it became one of the important private libraries in Europe. It contained manuscripts, incunabula, and other printed books. Among the incunabula were all the editions of the Divine Comedy ; the only other library where these are complete is the British Museum. The Trivulzio had also 25 manuscript copies of the Divine Comedy and many original letters. In 1935 the city of Milan acquired the library, and it is now in the Sforza castle.
Bibliography: p. litta et al., Famiglie celebri italiane 14 v. (Milan 1819–99), v.14. c. de rosmini, Dell'istoria intorno alle militari imprese e alla vita di Gian Jacopo Trivulzio, 2 v. (Milan 1815). f. a. gualterio, ed., Corrispondenza segreta di Giovanni Matteo Giberto, datario di Clemente VII col cardinale Agostino Trivulzio dell'anno 1527 (Turin 1845). g. moroni, Dizionario de erudizione storico-ecclesiastica 81: 81–84. f. and e. gnecchi, Le monete dei Trivulzio (Milan 1887). c. santoro, Milano d'altri tempi (Milan 1938) 113–174, about the Trivulzio library. Storia di Milano (Milan 1953–) 7:487–508; 8:3–222.
[m. l. shay]