Francesco III d'Este, Duke of Modena

Francesco III d'Este
Modène, François-Marie III de.jpg
Duke of Modena and Reggio
Reign26 October 1737 – 22 February 1780
PredecessorRinaldo d'Este
SuccessorErcole III d'Este
Born(1698-07-02)2 July 1698
Ducal Palace, Modena
Died22 February 1780(1780-02-22) (aged 81)
Palazzo Estense, Varese
Maria Teresa Felicitas, Duchess of Penthièvre
Ercole III, Duke of Modena
Maria Fortunata, Princess of Conti
Benedetto Filippo, Abbot of Anchin
Full name
Francesco Maria d'Este
FatherRinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena
MotherCharlotte of Brunswick-Lüneburg
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Francesco III d'Este (Francesco Maria; 2 July 1698 – 22 February 1780) was Duke of Modena and Reggio from 1737 until his death.


He was born in Modena, the son of Rinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena, and Charlotte of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

During his reign, the duchy was bankrupted by the Wars of the Spanish, Polish, and Austrian Successions. As a result, Francesco was forced to sell the most precious artworks of the Estense Gallery. He was a careful administrator but most of the duchy's financial policy was in the hands of the Austrian plenipotentiary, Beltrame Cristiani.

Among his measures, the urban renovation of Modena and the construction of the Via Vandelli, connecting the city to Tuscany.

Francesco also was the interim Governor of the Duchy of Milan between 1754 and 1771.

He died in 1780 in his villa at Varese. His son Prince Ercole succeeded him.