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He was born in Ischia, the cousin of Francesco Ferdinando I d'Ávalos, inheriting his titles after 1525, fighting the French and the Venetians by his side. During the period 1526-1528 he fought under Hugo of Moncada, being captured on 28 April 1528 by the Genoese captain Filippino Doria at the Capo d'Orso.
In July 1535 he was part of the naval troops reconquering the city of Tunis in North Africa. The failure on the third war against France trying to invade Provence, and the death of the first Governor of the Duchy of Milan, Antonio de Leyva, prompted him in 1538 to accept the nomination as governor, replacing Marino Caracciolo, the second governor, becoming some sort of protector of literary and musical people[clarification needed]. Wars with French and North Italians ended for a while with the Treaty of Crespy (1544). He also became a Knight in the Order of the Golden Fleece.
He commanded the Imperial army in Italy during the Italian War of 1542 and was defeated by the French at the Battle of Ceresole. However, in the Battle of Serravalle on 2 June 1544, an aftermath of the Italian War of 1542, he managed to defeat a force of freshly raised Italian mercenaries in French service, commanded by Pietro Strozzi and Giovanni Francesco Orsini, count of Pitigliano.
He married in 1523 with Maria d'Aragona and had 5 children including
- Innico d'Avalos d'Aragona, (1536–1600), an Italian Cardinal.
- Francesco Ferdinando d'Ávalos (1537–1571), commander in chief of the Spanish army in Lombardy and Piedmont.
- Oman, Charles (1937). A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co.
- Gran Enciclopedia de España, 22 volumes, 11,052 pages, (1991), vol 3, page 1,109 ISBN 84-87544-01-0
Cardinal Marino Caracciolo
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