Passions & Places

Regional Dynasties

County Dynasties

Important families started to influence Le Marche around 1300. Their fate was in fact deeply mingled with the one of Marche county and its culture and urban outlook.

The appointment of Francesco della Rovere as pope Sisto IV brought about important changes in the course of the dynasty he belonged to. He increased in fact the family artistic collection sponsoring several artists. But he also favoured the economic wealth of the family through nepotism. These were just the first steps the dynasty moved. Giovanni, the Pope’s nephew, gained Senigallia lordship (it was him who wanted the Senigallia fortress to be built) and also the vicariate of Moldavio. He then got married with the daughter of Federico di Montefeltro in 1490. They had a son: Francesco Maria I della Rovere. He inherited the Duchy of Urbino and as a reward for his help to the Pope he obtained the city of Pesaro. The city under the guidance of Francesco Maria’s son Guidobaldo became one of the most artistic and renown city in Marche of 1500. The dynasty lost much of their belongings when the Pope forced Francesco Maria II to leave his lands to the Papal States and retire (1625).

Urbino has seen its name often related with the Montefeltro family. They governed the city since 1234 first as earls, then as dukes. Guido, Galasso and Nolfo first managed to enlarge the possessions of the family. They in fact annexed the city of San Leo. The dynasty sceptre was handed down from father to son: Federico II, Antonio, Guidantonio and Oddantonio and Federico III. He was the man to make Urbino a prestigious city in the cultural and artistic field. His son, Guidobaldo, followed in his father’s footsteps. He didn’t have heirs so the continuation of the dynasty passed into the hands of the nephew of Guidobaldo: Francesco Maria della Rovere, his son Guidobaldo II and the nephew Francesco Maria II. All the possessions passed then to the Papal States as seen above.

Malatesta is the name of the lordship of Rimini. They expanded their possessions towards Le Marche. Paolo “il bello”, a member of the family left for us to remember a romantic memory. He was in fact killed together with his lover Francesca da Rimini by his brother and husband to Francesca Gianciotto. It is still possible to admire the beautiful Gothic church doors in San Francesco, San Domenico, and Sant’Agostino paid for by the Malatesta family.

The decline of the dynasty in Marche was marked by the handover of the possessions to the Sforza family that with Francesco I became marquises of the Ancona district in 1433. Alessandro, Francesco’s brother, enlarged their ranking also above Pesaro, ranking that lasted until 1519. The power passed in the hands of Costanzo I, Giovanni, Giuseppe Maria (Costanzo II), and Galeazzo, all belonging to the Sforza dynasty.


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