Della Torre

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Coat of Arms of the House of della Torre.
Gravestone of Dionigi della Torre.

The Della Torre (or Torriani, Italian for "Of the Tower") were an Italian noble family who rose to prominence in Lombardy during the 12th-14th centuries, until they held the seigniory of Milan before being ousted by the Visconti.

The family originally sprang from the small fortified burgh of Primaluna, in the Valsassina. The first notable member was one Martino, nicknamed Il Gigante ("The Giant"), who fought in the Holy Land during the Crusades. His son Jacopo married a Visconti, Berta, and was captain of Milan. His nephew Raimondo was bishop of Como in 1262-1273 and Patriarch of Aquileia (1273-1299), while another nephew, Salvino, was podestà of Vercelli.

Jacopo's son, Pagano (III), became capitano del popolo of Milan in 1240, holding the position until his death in 1247. His brother Martino (III) imposed his personal power over the city, beginning the Torriani lordship, which lasted some 50 years. He died in 1259 and was succeeded by another brother, Filippo. Torriani possession included Bergamo, Lodi, Novara and Vercelli. The Torriani were a staunch member of the Guelph party.

Napoleone gained power in Milan in 1265, but was defeated by the Visconti in 1277: he died the following year in imprisonment. His brother Francesco was podestà of Brescia, Alessandria, Bergamo, Lodi and Novara, and was killed in the battle of Desio (1281), against the Visconti. With that victory the Visconti were granted power in Milan. In 1302 they were in turn ousted. Corrado Mosca, who had been already seignior in 1277-1281, was returned to power, which he held until 1307, when he was succeeded by his son Guido. Having tried to raise the people against the Emperor Henry VII, Guido was forced to flee, and died in 1312.

Florimondo della Torre, son of Corrado Mosca, attempted in vain to regain power in Milan. His son Pagano was bishop of Padua and Patriarch of Aquileia in 1319-1332. Another member of the family, Cassono or Gastone, was also Patriarch of Aquileia. from 1316 to 1318. Paganino, Corrado's youngest son, was podestà of Como and Senator of Rome. Lodovico della Torre was also Patriarch of Aquileia (1359-65).

A later member of the Torriani, Girolamo, was named Count of Valsassina by Emperor Charles V, and held possessions in Moravia until his death in Venice in 1530. Francesco Torriani was counsellor of Emperor Ferdinand I and baron of the Holy Roman Empire: he was ambassador to Venice (1558). Carlo Torriani was governor of Trieste in 1666.

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