Bianca Cappello (1548 – 17 October 1587) was an Italian noblewoman who was the mistress, and afterward the second wife, of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Her husband officially made her his consort.

She was born in Venice, in 1548, the daughter of Bartolomeo Cappello and Pellegrina Morosini, a member of one of the richest and noblest Venetian families, and was noted for her great beauty.

At the age of fifteen she fell in love with Pietro Bonaventuri, a young Florentine clerk in the firm of Salviati, and on 28 November 1563 escaped with him to Florence, where they were married. In 1564 she had a daughter named Virginia, or, according to other sources, Pellegrina. The Venetian government made every effort to have Bianca arrested and brought back but the Grand Duke Cosimo I intervened in her favor and she was left unmolested.

However, she did not get on well with her husband's family, who were very poor and made her do menial work, until at last her beauty attracted Grand Prince Francesco, son and heir apparent of the grand duke.

Although already married to Joanna of Austria, he seduced Bianca and gave her jewels, money and other presents. Bianca's husband was given court employment, and consoled himself with other ladies. In 1572 he was murdered in the streets of Florence in consequence of some amorous intrigue, though it is possible that Bianca and Francesco were involved.

On the death of Cosimo in 1574 Francesco succeeded to the grand duchy; he now installed Bianca in a palace (now known as Palazzo di Bianca Cappello) close to his own and outraged his wife by flaunting his mistress before her. As Joanna had borne Francesco only one son, Filippo (20 May 1577 – 29 March 1582) who died as a juvenile, and six daughters, of whom, only two lived to adulthood, Bianca was very anxious to present him with an heir, for otherwise her position would remain very insecure. In 1576 she gave birth to Don Antonio de' Medici, but he was not openly acknowledged as Francesco's heir until after Joanna's death, when the boy was about three years old.

In 1578 Joanna died; a few months later Francesco secretly married Bianca, and on 10 June 1579, the marriage was publicly announced. Two days later, on the 12 June, Bianca was crowned the Grand Duchess of Tuscany at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The Venetian government now put aside its resentment and was officially represented at the magnificent wedding festivities, for it saw in Bianca Cappello an instrument for cementing good relations with Tuscany. But the long expected heir failed to come, and Bianca realized that if her husband were to die before her she was lost, for his family, especially his brother Cardinal Ferdinand, hated her bitterly, as an adventuress and interloper.

In October 1587, at the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, Francesco and Bianca died on the same day, possibly poisoned, or as some historians believe, from malarial fever. In 2006, forensic and toxicology experts at the University of Florence reported evidence of arsenic poisoning in a study published in the British Medical Journal, but in 2010 evidence of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria, was found in Francesco's remains.

The biography of Bianca Cappello was exploited by Thomas Middleton for his tragedy Women Beware Women (published 1657).
Show all items in this set…

Similar styles


Post A Comment



Everything is Interesting

Everything is Interesting

Art & Expression. Fashion. Interior Design.



This is a group for all of your especially U-NIQ creations. ALL styles of sets are welcome! I hope you enjoy my group and contests. Everyone is welcome. :) love, lavida

Ethereal Daydreams

Ethereal Daydreams

For showcasing your imaginative and atmospheric sets.

Checkout Reverse: The 15-Items-or-More Group

Checkout Reverse: The 15-Items-or-More Group

This group is for those intensely detailed sets of all types with multiple items united into an interesting collage composition. Tired of lovingly laboring over a detailed, story-rich set for hours, only to narrowly miss a contest first to someone who put a model on a background and added a sparkle? Despite what that sounds like, we realize that you can get jaw-dropping effects with three items and the "KISS" rule, and we love those sets too -- but this group is for more ambitious collages.
Therefore, all sets in this group must contain at least 15 unique items. All text counts as one item; you may repeat items as many times as you like. We want art, fashion, interior design, dolls, magazine layouts, everything -- all types of sets are welcome here.
There will be irregular but frequent contests, judged by a method that ensures different types and styles of sets will be honored. Show us your best labor of love!

Members who liked this

  • melanie-avni
  • historynerd14
  • conquistadorofsorts
  • maggie-johnston
  • sugarpixielh
  • agolm
  • pingela-1
  • erika-prove
  • mana-g
  • fadamiriam
  • blossomca
  • maneevanit
  • mrsangeliarose
  • elyeyer
  • madcat00
  • annatsuk
  • bitbyacullen
  • ktastic
  • soofiia
  • annette-heathen
  • denise-schmeltzer
  • helenadelaide
  • elzxox
  • bren-g
  • marijana71
  • alyssastar
  • the-artful-puppet
  • lulurose98
  • lizmuller
  • aaliyahmckenzie
  • armband
  • sundaygray

More creations by sh0shan

Love this look? Get more styling ideas