Luigi of Taranto, of the House of Anjou, was Prince of Taranto from 1346 and King consort of Naples from 1352 as the second husband of Queen Joanna I. Son of Philip I of Taranto and Catherine of Valois-Courtenay, his paternal grandparents were Charles II of Naples and Maria of Hungary, while maternal grandparents were Charles of Valois and his second wife Catherine I of Courtenay.
In 1342 Luigi became Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the most ancient and prestigious military orders of Christianity. In 1346 his brother Roberto assumed the ownership of the Latin Empire, allowing Luigi to be invested with the principality of Taranto.
Already from adolescence, Luigi began to entertain a relationship with Queen Giovanna, married to Andrea of Hungary, their common cousin. In addition to the deep feeling that the sovereign, it seems, felt towards him, to strengthen the bond would also have helped the favor of Catherine, the mother of Louis, who intended to invest this substantial political capital in order to ensure the child's crown Naples.
On the death of Andrea, killed by a conspiracy of which the same queen was suspected, on 20 August 1347 Luigi married his cousin Giovanna and was the only one of the four husbands of the sovereign to be awarded the title of king.
But then the kingdom was going through a moment of great crisis: in November 1347, to avenge the death of his brother Andrea, Louis I of Hungary invaded the kingdom, entering with his troops in Benevento in early 1348. The maneuvers of defense were entrusted to Luigi of Taranto, who - after having gathered an army in Capua in an attempt to prevent the capture of Naples - had to deal with the defections of many barons of the kingdom, which, instead of defending the legitimate sovereign, launched support of the invader, acclaimed everywhere as a lord and triumphant.
The king consort temporarized perhaps too long, while his defensive army continued to thin for the numerous desertions. Desperate to save the situation, on 15 January Queen Giovanna left Naples by ship, heading for Provence. Luigi of Taranto understood the extent of the disaster that was taking place and a few weeks later he joined his wife in France, under the protection of the Church of Avignon.
Louis of Hungary took Naples very easily, but his stay in the Neapolitan territories would have lasted very little. Also on the kingdom of Naples the plague of the black plague crashed and Luigi quickly left the capital leaving the regency in the hands of two Hungarian officials.
The two spouses did not give up and in August of 1348, recruited an army, returned to free Naples. But the expulsion of foreign militias, to which many mercenaries were added, was more difficult than expected, especially in Puglia. The clashes lasted for many months, giving the Louis of Hungary time to organize a second expedition to southern Italy. Reached Manfredonia by sea at the beginning of 1350, the Hungarian king soon took to the Campania region. But this time it was his own soldiers who claimed the end of hostilities and the return home, tired of the long period of wars they had to fight. With the mediation of the papal legates, the King of Hungary accepted the signing of the truce and resumed the way back, however obtaining the establishment of a trial against Giovanna to ascertain his responsibilities in the assassination of Andrew.
The trial took place at the papal court of Avignon, on which the influence of the Angevins was enormous. Thanks also to the cession to the Church of the dominion of the city of Avignon, the queen was declared innocent and the claims of the Hungarian sovereign were definitively closed.
The sentence of the trial also decreed the attribution to Luigi of the title of king of Naples. Returning to the capital in January 1352, Giovanna I d'Angiò and Luigi di Taranto were solemnly crowned sovereigns of Naples.
In 1360, in support of an insurrection against Frederick IV, Louis invaded Sicily in an attempt to bring her back under the Angevin hegemony, but the initiative was unsuccessful.
Luigi di Taranto died in Naples on May 26, 1362. Queen Giovanna contracted two other marriages - with James IV of Mallorca in 1363 and Otto of Brunswick-Grubenhagen in 1376 - but neither husband was ever crowned king.