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Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan

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Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan
Alberto Azzo II depicted in the Genealogia dei principi d'Este (1470s)
Died(1097-08-20)20 August 1097 (aged 99-100)
Noble familyHouse of Este
Spouse(s)Kunigunde of Altdorf
Garsende of Maine
IssueWelf I
Fulco I
Hugh V
FatherAlbert Azzo I
MotherAdela of Milan

Alberto Azzo II (997 in Modena – 20 August 1097 in Modena), Margrave of Milan, and Liguria, Count of Gavello, Padua, Rovigo, Lunigiana, Monselice, and Montagnana, was a powerful nobleman in the Holy Roman Empire. He is considered the founder of Casa d'Este (House of Este), having been head of the first family to be master of Este, a town of Padua.[1]


Alberto Azzo II was the only son of Albert Azzo I, Margrave of Milan and Adela of Milan.[2] He inherited his father's offices around 1029, and continually increased his properties in northern Italy. Around 1073 he made a castle at Este his residence, from which the House of Este took its name. Before his building project, Este was little more than a village.

In the Investiture Controversy between Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Pope Gregory VII, Azzo attempted to mediate,[3] but later he joined the side of the pope.

First marriage[edit]

Azzo II married Kunigunde (also called Chuniza), the daughter of Welf II, Count of Altdorf, in 1035/6.[4] Azzo's son with Chuniza, Welf, moved first to Carinthia and then to Bavaria, giving rise to one of the most important families in European history, the Guelphs.

Albert Azzo II's tomb at Vangadizza Abbey

With his first wife, Chuniza, Azzo had:

  • Welf (died 6 November 1101, Paphos) Duke of Bavaria from 1070 to 1077 and from 1096 to his death who was the first member of the Welf branch of the House of Este.[5]

Second marriage[edit]

Around 1050, Azzo married again, to Garsende, daughter of Herbert I, Count of Maine. In 1069–1070, he tried to acquire Maine for his son Hugh, because his wife, Garsende, was a co-heiress of the previous counts of Maine.[6]

With his second wife, Garsende, Azzo had:

  • Fulco I, Margrave of Milan (died 1128),[7] ancestor of the Italian branch of the House of Este[8] made the first documented use of the title "Marquis d'Este."
  • Hugh V, Count of Maine (died 1131),[9] was declared count of Maine, but he could not prevail against Robert, the Duke of Normandy.

Some sources say he also married Vitalia Orseolo, daughter of Peter Orseolo. They had a daughter: Itta.

He had an extra-marital affair with, or perhaps married,[10] Matilda, sister of William/Guglielmo, Bishop of Pavia (r.1069-1102/3), with whom he had a daughter named Adelasia, who married Guglielmo Adelardi.[11]


Alberto Azzo II lived to at least his 90s.[7] He died in August 1097 at the monastery of Vangadizza (Badia Polesine), where he was buried.[12]


  1. ^ "Henrici IV diplomata, no. 289 (1077), p. 377". Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Violante 1977, p. 106.
  3. ^ Lampert of Hersfeld, Annales, a.1077, 290.
  4. ^ Wolfram 2006, p. 127.
  5. ^ Robinson 1999, p. 70.
  6. ^ Actus Pontificum Cenomannis in urbe degentium, chap. XXXII, p.377.
  7. ^ a b Eads 2010, p. 38.
  8. ^ Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica, VIII, cap. XI, col. 589.
  9. ^ Nash 2017, p. 50.
  10. ^ Bresslau, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reiches, p. 421.
  11. ^ Chiantore 1964, p. 131.
  12. ^ L.A. Muratori, Della antichità estensi, p. 316;Bernold, Chronicon, a.1097, p. 465 Archived July 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.


  • H. Bresslau, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reiches unter Konrad II. vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1879).
  • Chiantore, Giovanni (1964). "Le Iscrizioni Ferraresi Del 1135". Studi medievali (in Italian).
  • Eads, Valerie (2010). Rogers, Clifford J.; France, John; DeVries, Kelly (eds.). "The Last Italian Expedition of Henry IV". Journal of Medieval Military History. 8. Boydell Press.
  • Nash, Penelope (2017). Empress Adelheid and Countess Matilda: Medieval Female Rulership and the Foundations of European Society. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Robinson, I. S. (1999). Henry IV of Germany 1056-1106. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wolfram, Herwig (2006). Conrad II, 990-1039: Emperor of Three Kingdoms. Translated by Kaiser, Denise. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Violante, Cinzio (1977). "Quelques caractéristiques des structures familiales en Lombardie, Emilie et Toscane aux XIe et XIIe siècles". Publications de l'École Française de Rome (in French). 30: 87–148.

External links[edit]

Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan
Born: 997 or 1009 Died: 20 August 1097
Preceded by Margrave of Milan
c. 1029–1097
Succeeded by