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Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena

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Title: Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena  
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Subject: Maria d'Este, Francesco III d'Este, Duke of Modena, Alfonso IV d'Este, Duke of Modena, House of Este, Papal conclave, 1655
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Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena

Francesco I d'Este
Duke of Modena and Reggio
Francesco I d'Este by Diego Velázquez
Spouse Maria Caterina Farnese
Vittoria Farnese
Lucrezia Barberini
Issue Alfonso, Hereditary Prince of Modena
Alfonso IV, Duke of Modena
Isabella, Duchess of Parma
Rinaldo, Duke of Modena
Maria, Duchess of Parma
House House of Este
Father Alfonso III d'Este, Duke of Modena
Mother Isabella of Savoy
Born (1610-09-06)6 September 1610
Died 14 October 1658(1658-10-14) (aged 48)
Santhia, Vercelli

Francesco I d'Este (6 September 1610 – 14 October 1658) was Duke of Modena and Reggio from 1629 until his death. The eldest son of Alfonso III d'Este, he became reigning duke after his father's abdication.


  • Biography 1
    • Francesco in Art 1.1
  • References 2
  • Issue 3
  • Ancestors 4
  • External links 5


The pestilence of 1630–1631 killed 70% of Modena's inhabitants. In 1631 he wed Maria Caterina Farnese (1615–1646), daughter of Ranuccio I Farnese, Duke of Parma. By this marriage, he had a daughter, Isabella d'Este. After the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War he sided with Spain and invaded the duchy of Parma, but upon visiting to Spain to claim his reward, he could only acquire Correggio by a payment of 230,000 florins.

Later followed the First War of Castro, in which Francesco's Modena joined Venice and Florence and sided with the Dukes of Parma against Barberini Pope Urban VIII, aiming to reconquer Ferrara. The war ended without any particular gain for the Modenese. As again no help had come from Spain, Francesco allied with France through the intercession of Cardinal Mazarin. When he however failed to conquer Cremona, and as the situation of the Thirty Years' War seemed to be favourable for Spain, the Duke sought for an agreement with the latter. He returned to the service of France by marrying his son and heir Alfonso to Laura Martinozzi, Mazarin's niece.

After successful resistance to a Spanish invasion from their territories in Milan, he fought alongside France and Savoy, conquering Alessandria and Valenza in 1656–1657 with the help of his son. In 1658 he conquered Mortara but, struck by malaria, died in Santhià soon later. After Maria's death in 1646, he married her sister Vittoria Farnese who died 1649.

His last marriage was to Lucrezia Barberini (1628–1699), daughter of Taddeo Barberini with whom his troops had fought during the First War of Castro. He had a total of eleven children, two of them, Alfonso and Rinaldo, were later Dukes of Modena.

Although a skillful military commander, Francesco was renowned for his upright character and religious ideals. He enriched Modena with the construction of the Ducal Palace of Modena, the large Teatro della Spelta, the Villa delle Pentetorri, a port on an enlarged Naviglio channel and the restoration of the Cittadella.

Francesco in Art

Francesco was immortalized by Louis XIV. According to Howard Hibbard, Bernini's portrait bust of Francesco I and the Louis XIV bust "set the standard for monarchical portraiture up to the time of the French Revolution" (126-8).[1]


  1. ^


Lucrezia Barberini, Francesco's third wife, and mother of Rinaldo
Wives of Francesco d'Este
Issue with Maria Caterina Farnese:
  1. Alfonso d'Este, Hereditary Prince of Modena (1632) died in infancy;
  2. Alfonso IV d'Este, Duke of Modena (2 February 1634 – 16 July 1662), married Laura Martinozzi, parents of Mary of Modena;
  3. Isabella d'Este (3 October 1635 – 21 August 1666) married Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma, and had issue;
  4. Leonore d'Este (1639–1640);
  5. Tedald d'Este' (1640–1643);
  6. Almerigo d'Este (8 May 1641 – 14 November 1660) died unmarried;
  7. Eleonore d'Este (1643 – 24 February 1722) died unmarried;
  8. Maria d'Este (8 December 1644 – 20 August 1684) married Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma, and had issue;
  9. Tedald d'Este (1646) died in infancy.
Issue with Vittoria Farnese:
  1. Vittoria d'Este (24 August 1649 – 1656).
Issue with Lucrezia Barberini:
  1. Rinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena (26 April 1655 – 26 October 1737), married Duchess Charlotte Felicitas of Brunswick-Lüneburg and had issue.


Francesco's ancestors in three generations
Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena Father:
Alfonso III d'Este, Duke of Modena
Paternal Grandfather:
Cesare d'Este, Duke of Modena
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Alfonso d'Este
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Giulia della Rovere
Paternal Grandmother:
Virginia de' Medici
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Camilla Martelli
Princess Isabella of Savoy
Maternal Grandfather:
Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry
Maternal Grandmother:
Catherine Michelle of Spain
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Philip II of Spain
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Elisabeth of Valois
Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena
Born: 6 September 1610 Died: 14 October 1658
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alfonso III
Duke of Modena and Reggio
Succeeded by
Alfonso IV

External links

  • (the record of the festival celebrating Francesco's marriage to Lucrezia Barberini)
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