Paolo Guinigi

Low-relief on metal of the face of Paolo Guinigi
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Son of Francesco Guinigi and Filippa Serpenti, and the fifth and last remaining son after the premature death of the four others, Paolo Guinigi was heir to all the property and power in his father’s family as well as the fortunes of his mother and his first wife, Caterina Antelminelli, both of whom had inherited from Castruccio Castracani.
When he came to power in 1400, he could claim to be the proper successor to the Duke of Lucca. Caterina Antelminelli died in 1403 and Paolo then married Ilaria del Carretto, daughter of Carlo Lord of Finale Ligure, by whom he had his first son, Ladislao. He would marry twice more, first Piagentina da Varano, daughter of the Lord of Camerino and then Iacopa, daughter of Corrado de’ Trinci, Lord of Foligno.
Paolo governed the state wisely with the experience he had gained in his family’s commercial concerns, sought to promote internal peace and economic recovery, and encouraged public works. He also had a realistic awareness of the foreign policy that Lucca could sustain without any Utopian dreams. He loved to surround himself with beautiful things, as did many noblemen of the time. He had a fine library and was an active patron of the arts.
His political misfortunes were perhaps due to the excessive prudence he showed in his relationships with enemies and allies in Italy, finally finding himself despised by both sides and thus losing the respect of those citizens of Lucca who had supported his rise. When he was deposed in 1430, the Republic dealt with him in an excessively vengeful way. He was put on trial, condemned to death in his absence, and his assets, including the important furnishings in the Palazzo, were confiscated and dispersed. He died in 1432 as prisoner of the Duke of Milan in the castle in Pavia.