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The Bourbon del Monte

Palazzo Museo Bourbon del Monte

Raynerius or Ranieri, marquis of Tuscany from 1014 to 1027

Guido del Monte (?-1283), marquis of Montemigiano, in 1250 occupied the castle of Monte Santa Maria assuming the title of first Marquis of Monte Santa Maria. The title was officially recognised in 1355 by the Emperor Carlo IV on the occasion of his descent into Italy through an imperial certificate in which the members of this house were appealed “Marchionibus de Monte Sancta Maria et Sacri Imperii fidelibus” (Marquises of Monte Santa Maria and followers of the Sacred Roman Empire), first and foremost Marquis Ugolino I.
As imperial feudal lords, the Marquises of Monte Santa Maria enjoyed a series of privileges that made them autonomous and independent of the surrounding territories, depending directly on the imperial authority, including the liberty to declare peace and war and to stipulate alliance pacts, to exert high and low justice for civil and penal cases, even the death penalty, its own currency, the so-called “fiorino montesco”, and to have a free area for duelling on the territory.

Pietro del Monte (1450-1509), member of the marquis family of the Bourbon of Monte Santa Maria, was commander of the Florentine army in April 1487 in the war against the Republic of Genova for the dominance of the City of Sarzana. He was commander of the Florentine infantry in the wars against Pisa from 1494 to 1503, and eventually was killed, fighting in the ranks of the Venetian army in the battle of Agnadello (1509). He was the author of a work entitled Exercitiorum atque artis militaris (On Exercises and Military Art) published posthumously in Milan in 1509.
From the 16th century onwards, the Marquises del Monte acquired the title of Bourbon, which was confirmed by the Leopold diploma of 1699.

Giovan Battista Bourbon del Monte (1541-1614), sixth Marquis ruler of the imperial stronghold of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, who participated in the wars against the Turks under Pope Pio V, seizing Malta. He fought for 16 years in the Flanders alongside his uncle Chiappino Vitelli and in France against the Huguenots. For his service to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, on the 20th November 1601 Ferdinando I presented him with the estate of Piancastagnaio (SI). The immense wealth he accumulated during his life, above all for his service to the Republic of Venice, granted him the possibility to carry out impressive architectural reconstruction work in the hamlet of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina: he initiated the reconstruction of the Marquis’ building and in thanks, has been named on the inside of the nearby Santa Maria Assunta parish church in the nobel chapel of the Bourbon del Monte family.

Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte (1549-1626), seventh Marquis ruler of the imperial stronghold of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina, was cardinal, diplomatic and a great art collector. He discovered and was a patron of the great Caravaggio, who painted numerous pieces for him, amongst which the renowned Medusa, later donated by the Cardinal to Ferdinando de’ Medici. Noted for his refined taste, Roman artists, musicians and scientists, such as Galileo Galilei, with whom he entertained a long correspondence, gathered around del Monte in his palace.

Guidobaldo Bourbon del Monte (1545-1607), brother of the Cardinal Francesco Maria Bourbon del Monte, was a renowned mathematician and astronomer, remembered for the numerous treaties he produced that had notable circulation all over Europe, as well as for his friendship with the poet Torquato Tasso and with Galileo Galilei, who was a surety in facilitating the achievement of his professorship of Mathematics first at the University of Pisa and then at the University of Padova.

Pietro Bourbon del Monte (1732-1821), it was whilst he was Marquis that there was an end to the regime of feudal rights following the decision of the Congress of Vienna in 1815; it was in fact decided that the Marquis should be included in the restored Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the person of Granduca Ferdinando III of Lorena. He fought in the French Foreign Regiments and distinguished himself in the endeavour of Port Mahon; he became mayor of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina under the French domain (1809), later reacquiring the reign of the estate until the Congress of Vienna.