The dynasty was founded by Muzio Attendolo, called Sforza ("Strong") (Cotignola, 1369 - near Pescara, 1424) a condottiere from the Romagna serving the Angevin kings of Naples. He was the most successful dynast of the condottieri.
His son Francesco Sforza ruled Milan for the first half of the Renaissance era, acquiring the title of Duke from the extinct Visconti family in 1447. While there were many good rulers in the family, there were also a number of despots, many of which were mentally unstable.
Sforza rulers of Milan
- Francesco I Sforza 1450-1466
- Galeazzo Maria Sforza 1466-1476
- Gian Galeazzo Sforza 1476-1494
- Lodovico Sforza 1494-1499
- Lodovico Sforza (restored) 1500
- Massimiliano Sforza 1512-1515
- Francesco II Sforza 1521-1535
- Portraits and family tree