Giovanni Cobenzl (1530-1594)

21/03/2020

Giovanni Cobenzl was born around 1530 in San Daniele del Carso. A member of a noble Gorizia family whose representatives occupied important positions in public life not only in Gorizia but also in the Austrian Empire, Giovanni Cobenzl was secretary for the Latin letters of Ferdinand I, then chancellor for Austrian affairs, courtly chancellor, president of the Archducal Chamber of Graz and captain of the Carniola. He entered the Teutonic Order, in which he held various positions. 

He was ambassador and plenipotentiary minister of Maximilian II and Rudolph II; he conducted diplomatic missions on behalf of the Emperor to the Vatican, Muscovy, Poland and Italy, following several sensitive international issues, including the regulation of the borders with the Republic of Venice. In spite of these political commitments at the highest level, he also dealt with the internal affairs of the County, in his role as Archducal commissioner to the Diets and therefore as mediator between the local authorities and the central government, even though his relations with the majority of Gorizia's nobility, in those years very close to Lutheranism, were not the best: A Catholic of strict orthodoxy, like the lieutenant of the county, Vito di Dornberg, Giovanni Cobenzl proposed the opportunity of an alliance between Catholics and Orthodox in opposition to the spread of Protestant ideas, which he considered a greater and more immediate danger than that of the Turks who threatened the borders of Europe, a matter which he also had to deal with. His report on the mission carried out in Muscovy, addressed to the Pope, expresses this very concept. His name remains linked to Gorizia for the construction in 1587 of the family palace, the Cobenzl palace which, after the extinction of the house and the transfer of ownership to the de Codelli family, was destined to be the seat of the archbishopric.Giovanni Cobenzl died on August 14, 1594, while he was attending the meetings of the Regensburg Diet as imperial delegate.