Torre Prendiparte

THE PRENDIPARTE FAMILY

The Prendiparte family have distant origins. Apparently, they stem from the Pico family, whose roots can be traced back to the earliest feudal society of the Po valley. These noble origins granted the Prendipartes wealth and power over a large territory. They were vassals of numerous castles, including Mirandola, in the territory of Modena, Montecuccolo in the Frignano area and Settefonti in the territory of Bologna. The famous document “Liber Paradisus”, which listed the names of the serfs set free by the Municipality of Bologna in 1256 confirms their great wealth. Indeed, at that time they had as many as 218 serfs and clearly ranked in one of the top positions among all aristocratic families in Bologna. The great wealth of the Prendipartes was also proved by the building of the Coronata tower, which was not even the only one they possessed. Their political power is shown by the many and important mandates of the members of that family when Bologna was a free Municipality: there is evidence that some of them were members of the city nobility from as early as 1154.

The most famous member of this family was probably Prendiparte dei Prendiparti. He was consul several times during the war against Frederick Barbarossa, which scourged Italy for over a decade, led the army of Bologna to victory against Imola in 1168 and, seven years later, against the imperial army under the walls of San Casciano. Prendiparte was so respected and authoritative in Bologna that he was even elected Podestà (city mayor), a mandate which was never given to someone from the town, in order to avoid dangerous accumulations of power. As further evidence of his high reputation and social position, in 1185 his house hosted no less than emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who had made peace with the Lombard League and the Pope, in the period in which the first crusade was being organized. The “Great Deeds” saw the departure of two thousand armed men from Bologna, including the best aristocrats of the town. This obviously included powerful Prendiparte, who left home heading to the Holy Land.

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