In the city of Piacenza, which was then in the Duchy of Milan, Antonio Cornazzano was born probably in 1432. His father, Bonifacio Cornazzano was a well-known lawyer and his mother, Costanza Bagarotti, belonged to the small nobility from Piacentine territory. Cornazzano studied at the university of Siena between 1444–47, and in 1450 he was in Rome, probably in the service of a high prelate. He then found his way to Milan in 1455, where he served Duke Francesco Sforza, and wrote a long poem in praise of the Duke, his 'De gestis Francisci Sfortiae' or 'Sforziade'. He also wrote a small treatise on the art of dancing, a life of the Virgin Mary and a Latin scurrilous collection of 'novellae' "De proverbiorum origine". After attending the Duke's funeral in 1466, he left Milan. He moved to Venetian territory and, for a time, worked with the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni, whose biography Cornazzano wrote in Latin. In Venice, he worked with the printer Nicolas Jenson, and published a "Life of Christ". In 1475, he moved to the court of Ferrara, where he wrote important works; a short treatise on government, and one on military art (c. 1476) in prose. He later turned the latter into a terza rima poem. He died in Ferrara in 1484.