He was born near the year 1380. Perhaps he was a disciple to Giovanni Conversini of Ravenna and Antonio da Perugia. He probably accomplished his education as a notary at Padua. His long teaching activity is chronologically extended from 1398 to 1454 in the schools of Belluno, Cividale, Udine. Among his students: Guarnerio d’Artegna, with whom Giovanni had tight relations over his whole life and shared the plan of collecting codices, and Giacomo da Udine. The first-born son of Marco, he was the copyist of Guarnerio’s codices (66, 68, 88) and of the codex Bodl. Lat. class. d. 27 kept at Oxford. He left the teaching chair because of illness when the council of the community of Udine, on 30 September 1454, decided to appoint this teaching to Francesco Diana who undertook to assume it on 31 January 1455. Giovanni died just afterwards, on 6 February 1455.
His literary production, datable to the period between 1418 and 1452, mostly unpublished and transmitted by Guarnerio’s codices, includes three small works, just little more than notes of a didactic character, three inaugural lectures to as many cycles of lessons, thirty-five epistles, including two letters written on commission: one on behalf of the tutor Franceschino Pancera to the general Governor (‘luogotenente’) Leonardo Giustinian, and the other ‘gratulatory’ letter on behalf of the community of Udine on the occasion of Ludovico della Torre’s election to Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of Malta, and five orations.
For further information see the entry Giovanni da Spilimbergo, umanista written by Laura Casarsa, in Nuovo Liruti, Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 2, L’Età veneta, edited by C. Scalon, C. Griggio, U. Rozzo, Udine, Forum, 2009, 1280-1288