The Landi Castle at Bardi, Province of Parma, Region of Emilia - Romagna, circa AD 900.
It was from this castle - the largest in all of Europe at the time - that the Landi Princes ran "Lo Stato Landi", their 1,776 square kilometer Principality, nestled in the foothills of the Apennines on the border of Tuscany.

Dedication

This site will cover the last 1,000 years of this "Most Illustrious" family, and document its people and their many accomplishments over the centuries.
The Casa Landi web site was initiated on 01 September 2009, and will be "Under Construction" for the forseeable future.


This web site was created for 2 purposes:

  1. To document the incredible true story of the ancient Landi family, which is unknown outside of Italy (unlike the Medici, Sforza, Visconti and others). This story has been intentionally suppressed for the last 400 years-in the best tradition of Italian vendettas - by another of Italy's powerful families.
  2. To complete the many undocumented genealogies of the Landi branches throughout Italy, most of which are related by blood (a fact generally unknown by Landi family members worldwide).

The Landi were:

  • Princes of The Holy Roman Empire
  • Knights, Order of the Golden Fleece
  • Knights, Order of St. John of Jerusalem
  • Knights, Order of Stephen of Pisa
  • Knights, Order of St. Michael's Wing
  • Knights, Order of The Crown of Italy
  • Grandees of Spain, 1st Class
  • The longest "Seignory" in the history of Italy
  • Rulers of their own independent Principality


THE HOUSE OF LANDI

Around the end of the first millennium after the birth of Christ- a time approximating the end of the Dark Ages and the start of the Middle Ages- the family known as "The Landi" was first noted by historians; they were described- even then- as arguably the most powerful family in the north of Italy. This lends credibility to the opinion of some historians that the Landi were of ancient origins, active in banking and trade- since, immediately upon appearing on the scene, they were already noble, wealthy and powerful, and had blood ties to the ruling houses of Spain (Aragon and Cordoba) and Germany (Swabia).

There is much evidence to support this theory; e.g.,

  1. among the noble families of Piacenza, the Landi alone attained the status of "Princes of the Holy Roman Empire"; and
  2. alone among all of the noble families of the region of Emilia-Romagna, Prince Federico Landi was, in 1612, invited to become a Knight of "The Order of the Golden Fleece", the most powerful group of men in Europe, whose membership was limited to only 50 in number.

Starting in the 11th century, the Landi, already mentioned as holding official positions in many cities and towns in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, are most often noted in and around Piacenza, where they are mentioned as acquiring more and more lands to the south, usually by force of arms. In later years their properties- now an independent Principality known as "The Landi State"- ran from the Ceno River [63 km long] to the Taro River [126 km long], all the way south into the foothills of the Apennines, and through to the border of Tuscany- almost eight hundred square miles in total.

Throughout much of the 15th century, the Landi State was run by Count Manfredo Landi- known as "Il Magnifico" during his lifetime- until his death in 1488. His heirs- his 3 sons- decided to break up their patrimony and create three branches of the family; this happened officially in 1491:

  • Count Federico Landi took Bardi castle and its surrounding lands;
  • Count Corrado Landi took Rivalta castle and its surrounding lands; and
  • Count Pompeo Landi took Compiano castle and its surrounding lands.

In the 17th century, the direct male line of the Landi branch of Bardi ended, and the sole remaining heir of Prince Federico Landi- Princess Polissena Landi- was allowed to inherit her father's estate; she then married Don Giovanni Andrea Doria, Prince of Melfi, of the old and noble Doria family of Genoa. Thereafter, this new branch of the Landi (now called the Doria-Landi) took root in Rome, and a few generations later- in 1682- Princess Polissena's descendants sold off the remains of the now faraway Landi State to the Farnese family. This transaction generated an enormous amount of money, making the Doria-Landi family- already extremely wealthy- among the wealthiest families in Rome, as it remains to this day.

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THE LANDI BRANCHES OF ITALY

The known ancient origins of the branches of the Landi (i.e., the 2nd millennium; the last 1,000 years) follow below; these branches are listed alphabetically, by Region. The few recorded mentions that exist about the oldest of the Landi- known during the 1st millennium after Christ as "Landus"- are not included here.

ABRUZZO

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AOSTA

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APULIA

(see MOLISE entry below)

BASILICATA

(research incomplete)

CALABRIA

(research incomplete)

CAMPANIA

Naples: Galvani narrates that the Landi were a branch of the noble family of Piacenza, and that "… they had castles and feuds [large estates] throughout the area; the Landi held the most important positions in the government, the embassies, and ecclesiastical posts, including the office of National Master of the Gran Court." (see Molise entry below, regarding the Landi of Venafro, 50 miles to the north of Naples)

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

Ravenna: Crollalanza notes a Vitale Landi that was Mayor of the city [1464], a member of the noble Landi family of Venezia.

Parma: The Landi State- "Lo Stato Landi"- which sat astride Parma and Piacenza provinces, grew to cover [at just under 700 square miles in size] approximately one-third of the land mass of those combined modern day provinces. (The Landi nobles of Renaissance times were often referred to as "The Knights of Parma and Piacenza"). Upon the death of Count Manfredo Landi of Piacenza in 1488, his sons decided [in 1491] to divide their father's patrimony, thereby creating 3 official branches of the original Landi of Piacenza: to Federico went the lands and castle at Bardi; to Pompeo went the lands and castle at Compiano; and to Corrado went the lands and castle at Rivalta.

Piacenza: Crollalanza confirms that the Landi of Piacenza are the original noble family bearing this name; they are mentioned as being in the area since the late 10th century, before being more formally documented later, as when they commenced building their state ("Lo Stato Landi") in the area between the Taro and Ceno Rivers, during the 1100s. He mentions Guglielmo Landi, Mayor of Vicenza, Milano and Piacenza [1235]; Agostino Landi, the family's 1st "Prince of the Holy Roman Empire" [died 1555], and his son Manfredo Landi, appointed Governor of the State of Milano by Holy Roman Emperor Filippo II.

Galvani too writes of the Piacentini Landi: In the middle ages, "…when Piacenza [12th century] was a Republic, the Landi gave 15 Consuls to the Republic", as well as Governors and Rectors. They consistently held the most important positions in the government; he confirms that the original motto of the Landi was "Fidelitas", and that all branches of the Landi were allowed to use the Emperor's cape, crown and other heraldic accoutrements on their coats-of-arms. He mentions Ubertino Landi, Governor of Siena [1250], who married Spanish Princess Isabella d'Aragona and greatly expanded the Landi State by terrorizing the local Counts (Lassardi, Platoni, Malaspina, Gazzi, Scotti and others), and, while head of the Emperor's Ghibelline Party, seizing lands by force of arms, should any of the locals decide not to sell to him. Ubertino served as King Corradino's General in Lombardy, and King Manfredo's General in Puglia, and acquired the title of Count of Venafro, with ownership to many towns in that area. Ubertino also acquired "198 towns and 4 cities" in Molise, all in the mid-13th century; his son Manfredo [in 1329] was further given, by Ludwig the Bavarian, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Sforza and Visconti Dukes of Milan, dozens of additional towns, villages and cities throughout Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany, as payment for his family's services.

Spreti writes of Bonizone Landi, who was Consul of Piacenza in 1132; and of the famous battle of Benevento [1266], during which- while the Landi were fighting for King Manfred- Carlo d'Angio took Ubertino's sons, Galvano and Corrado, prisoners, and held them for ransom for 13 years. Galvano died in captivity, and Corrado was eventually released.

(See the complete Landi family history, elsewhere in the Casa Landi web site)

FRIULI

(research incomplete)

LAZIO

Roma: Crollalanza mentions that this branch of the noble Landi of Piacenza comes from Velletri, a commune of Rome in the Alban Hills.

Spreti elaborates: Luigi Landi was Bishop of Assisi [1843]. From this branch also came Stefano Landi [born 1590], the noted composer of church music, and many diplomats, churchmen, professors, doctors, and philosophers. Paolo Landi [born 1852], a government Minister and diplomat, became a member of the Order of the Crown of Italy, and later married (in Berlin) Kathe Sussman Hellborn. This branch of the Landi- which flowers in modern times- is recorded in the Golden Book of Italian Nobility and the Official List of Italian Nobility, both as Nobles of Velletri and Nobles of Cori.

LIGURIA

Genoa: The Landi are recorded throughout Genoa and environs (along the entire Italian Riviera, into France) throughout the Middle Ages, by all major Italian historians.

Varese: In the commune of Varese-Ligure, Count Manfredo Landi (known as "Il Magnifico" during his lifetime) is remembered for building [1472-1479] the giant cylindrical "keep" that he added to the castle that he acquired in the town. The castle also has the Fieschi and Doria families involved in its history, both of which are in-laws of the Landi at various times.

LOMBARDY

Chiavenna: In 1682, after the descendents of the family of Princess Polissena Landi of Bardi (known as the Doria-Pamfili-Landi family of Rome) sold off the remains of the Landi State in Emilia-Romagna to Duke Ranuccio Farnese of Parma, the Duke awarded the Marquisate of Chiavenna to the Landi, as part of the compensation for the sale.

Milano: The Landi are recorded in Milano and its surrounding areas (including the castle/fortress at Zavatarello) throughout medieval times, by all major Italian historians: The Landi castle at Turbigo (first noted in the 9th century) belonged to the Landi in the 16th century; it is situated high on a hill overlooking the Ticino River, northwest of Milano on the border of Piedmont. It remains in excellent condition as a private residence today. The Landi are also noted in Varese, Voghera [owned by Count Ubertino Landi in 1271], and Caselle Landi.

MARCHE

Macerata-Crollalanza mentions a noble Landi family of Sanseverino that settled in this area, which is located due south of San Marino, inland from the Adriatic, on the road to Perugia.

MOLISE

Origins (Rivalta): The book describes (page 44) how Count Ubertino Landi of Piacenza spent time in the south of Italy [1267], at the Court of his friend King Corradino in Naples.

It was during this time that he was given many territories and titles in the regions of Molise (Venafro) and Apulia. Also described in this book are the times during the last half of the 13th century that Ubertino [1256] was publicly declared to be a blood relative ["consanguinus German"] of the German King Corradino of Swabia, as was Ubertino's son Galvano [1296] also so declared, by Holy Roman Emperor Federico II, at the time that Galvano was awarded estates in Sicily (see Sicily entry below). Three centuries later [1598], Prince Federico Landi was made the Marquis of Venafro by the Emperor.

PIEDMONT

(research incomplete)

SARDINIA

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SICILY

Noto: In 1296, at the time that Count Galvano Landi of Piacenza was visiting in Naples, he was given- among many other new titles and estates- an enormous piece of land on the eastern coast of Sicily, at Val di Noto, by his friend and relative, Holy Roman Emperor Federico II, as compensation for the services provided by the Landi to the Emperor.

TRENTINO

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TUSCANY

Florence: Galvani mentions that "This noble family [of Piacenza] was active in Tuscany too; it would be too great an effort to list the most important personalities of this branch [here, so] we mention only Michele Landi, Lord of Florence [a brave combatant], and Blessed Teodora Landi, a virtuous and pious woman."

Crollalanza mentions that the Landi of Firenze were from nearby Castellina nel Chianti, and that in 1384, a member of that Landi branch was appointed Prior, the first of 13 such tributes, as was the appointment in 1422 of Jacopo Landi as Notary. In the 19th century, Ottavio Landi, a Knight, was the lawyer of the Florentine Curia. It is also recounted that Count Vergiuso Landi of Piacenza was in Florence, in July of 1327 and June of 1328, to receive- each time- citations from the Emperor for "gallantry, audaciousness and fierceness in battle" as "the most valorous Captain-General in service to the Emperor".

OF NOTE: (a) During the 250 year period of the Florentine Republic [1280-1530], it was ruled by the "Signoria", a group of 9 men, 3 of whom were its executive officers ("The Tre Maggiori"): the Gonfaloniere di Giustizia, the Notaio, and the Priore. The records of these years reflect that the Landi held 1 of the 3 executive positions a total of 86 times, in addition to being one of the other 6 members of the Signoria countless additional times. The Landi held the first of these positions in 1346, and the last in 1530.

(There were recorded, in Florence during the years 1515 to 1530, a total of 243 men bearing the surname "Landi".) The source for the information contained in this particular paragraph is Brown University, Providence, RI [the "Scholarly Technology Group"], which has computerized most of the records of the Florentine Republic.

(b) There are 24 noble Landi families listed in the Archivio di Stato di Firenze (believed to include all of the noble families of Tuscany); the listed families contained in these "State Archives of Florence" (19 of which are identified specifically as "branches of the Landi of Piacenza") are located in: Florence [6], Santo Spirito, Nicchio, San Giovanni, Drago, Ferza, Santa Croce, Bue, Pistoia, Prato, Siena [3], Santa Maria Novella, Ruote, Pescia, Lion Bianco, Lion d'Oro, and Lion Nero. (These names identify everything from major cities to communes, or even simply neighborhoods.)

Siena: Crollalanza mentions that the Landi are known to have been in Siena since 1394, and that they were one of the "nine most important families of the town." (The number 9 is significant in re the ruling body of the local Sienese government.) Cornelio Landi was Archbishop of Otranto; Lorenzo Landi was Siena's Ambassador to Pope Sixto IV [1482]; Angelo Landi [1550] was Siena's Ambassador to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V; and Carlo Landi was a Royal Knight.

Spreti also discusses the Landi branch of Siena: They came to Siena from their nearby estate at Curina in the 1300s; the first family member documented was Ambrogio Landi, the Prior, in 1357. Between banishments, they were consistently members of the Sienese government bodies; they spent time in the Kingdom of Naples during one of their periods away from Siena. Matteo Landi was the Provincial Father of the Order of the Augustinians [1536].

Lucca: From the early 1800s, the Landi are documented throughout the province of Lucca, from Camaiore and Gombitelli in the south to Arni, Vagli Sotto and Camporgiano in the north.

Pisa: From the early 1800s, the Landi are documented throughout the province of Pisa. In medieval times, Count Manfredo Landi of Piacenza is recorded to be in Pisa [1328] on business for Holy Roman Emperor John of Bohemia; it was at this time that the Emperor confirmed all prior Imperial land grants to the Landi, and awarded the castle/fortress at Zavatarello to the Landi as well. This ceremony was a repeat of a similar one a year earlier, by Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian, necessitated by continuing Papal intrigues seeking to undermine Imperial authority.

Undocumented: Given that Count Ubertino Landi was made Governor of Siena [1250] by the Holy Roman Emperor, it is not unreasonable to assume that there were Landi family members resident in the area at that earlier time, whether at nearby Curina or elsewhere.

UMBRIA

(research incomplete)

VENETO

Venice: Crollalanza mentions that this branch came to Venice from Jesolo, where this ancient family was officially declared to be nobility in 1297 by the Gran Council. From this branch came Francesco Landi, Patriarch of Grado [1408] and Constantinople [1409], before being made a Cardinal [1411]. Vitale Landi, Mayor of Ravenna [1464]; Luigi Landi, Mayor of Torcello [1464], Levante [1475], and Mayor of Brescia [1482], are also documented. Pietro Landi, the former Mayor of Padua, was elected "Doge" (Duke) of the Venetian Republic [1538], where he served until 1545.

Galvani elaborates: Pietro was also a brave Captain and a most distinguished warrior; he managed to obtain the agreement of both the Emperor and the Pope to fight with him, to defeat, Suleyman, King of the Turks.

Crollalanza also states that 3 other branches of the Landi settled in Venice: the one that was originally from Milano arrived in 1490, and included Simone Landi, a Knight, who became Secretary to the Venetian Republic [1599]; the one that was originally from Lucca arrived in 1351; the third was from the Romagna, and settled in the San Raffaele quarter of Venice. All that is recorded of these families is that "… they produced many Lawyers, Notaries and Church-men" over the centuries, and that they were all nobles.

Verona: Galvani mentions a noble branch of the Landi family in Verona [1486]. Little else of this branch is known, beyond that they were Counts (their hereditary nobility confirmed by "Sovereign Resolution" on 23 March 1823), and that the branch blooms in modern times.

AND IN EUROPE:

There are many more branches of the Landi family- all related to the old and noble Landi family of Piacenza- that are documented outside of Italy, in Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Austria, and Monaco. One of the better documented narratives about the branch in France is the one produced by the Italian historian Count Francesco Galvani, who writes: "This branch of the noble family of Piacenza, settled now in France, descended from Count Carlo Massimiliano Luigi Landi [1699] of Italy." He goes on to document the genealogy of the branch (which thrives today), through to modern times.

REGARDING THE LANDI OF MODERN TIMES:

A great deal of specific information about "modern" Landi families (1700 onward) can be found throughout the Casa Landi web site. Currently, the areas of Italy that have the greatest populations of Landi family members (of the approximately 5,000 Landi that exist in Italy), are- in order of population density- Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Campania, Lombardy and Lazio. The Landi presently exist in 936 communities throughout Italy- they are in every one of Italy's 20 regions- so there can be no summaries of the modern-day Landi in Italy. On the same subject, of the approximately 2,000 persons in America that bear the Landi surname, most are in 5 states; they are, in density order, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and California (there are some Landi in 37 states, in total). There are 13 states- presently- that the Landi seem to have avoided altogether: Hawaii, New Mexico, Louisiana, West Virginia, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.

MAJOR SOURCES::

(1)

Giovanni Battista di Crollalanza, "Dizionario Storico Blasonico Delle Famiglie Nobili Italiane" (Pisa, 1888), Volume II (see the following entries: Landi di Firenze, Landi di Piacenza, Landi di San Severino, Landi di Siena, Landi di Velletri, Landi di Venezia)

(2)

Count Francesco Galvani, "Storie Delle Famiglie Illustri Italiane" (Firenze, 1882), Volume II (see the following entries: Landi di Piacenza, Landi di Venezia, Landi di Napoli, Landi di Francia, Landi di Toscana, Landi di Verona)

(3)

Vittorio Spreti, "Enciclopedia Storico Nobiliare Italiana" (Milano, 1932), Volume IV (see the following entries: Landi di Piacenza, Landi di Siena, Landi di Velletri)

(See also the "Sources" narrative in the "Research" section)

 

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