Originally from the castle of that name in the neighbourhood of Bologna, Italy. They claimed descent from Enzio (c. 1224-72), King of Sardinia, a natural son of Frederick II. During the fourteenth century the family belonged to one of the workingmen's guilds at Bologna, where it became all-powerful in the fifteenth century. It contracted alliances with the Kings of Aragon, the Dukes of Milan and other sovereigns; and in its later history, became on of the prominent families of Ferrara.
The following are the principal ecclesiastical members:
(1) GUIDO, Cardinal, b. at Ferrara 1579; d. at Rome 1644. He studied at Padua, went to Rome and was subsequently sent by Paul V as nuncio to Flanders (1607) and France (1617). He successfully settled the differences that arose between Catholics and Huguenots, was created cardinal in 1621, and appointed by King Louis XII protector of French interests at Rome. He held the latter position until 1641, the date of his appointment to the episcopal See of Palestrina. He was the most trusted friend of Pope Urban VIII and would undoubtedly have become his successor, had he not died during the conclave. He left several historical works, dealing chiefly with affairs in Flanders and France ; they were translated into French, and published as a collection (Venice, 1668).
(2) CORNELIO, Cardinal, b. at Ferrara 1668; d. at Rome 1732. He went at an early age to Rome, was appointed Archbishop of Carthage, and in 1712 nuncio to Paris. He showed more zeal than discretion in his dealings with the Jansenists and had to be recalled at the death of Louis XIV (1715). He became cardinal in 1719, and Spanish Minister Plenipotentiary at Rome in 1726, a position which he held until his death.
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