The Frangipani family was a powerful Roman patrician clan in the Middle Ages. The family was firmly Guelph in sympathy and often at odds with the papacy. The name has many spellings, which include Frangipane, Frangiapane, Freiapane, Fricapane and Fresapane. The family played a significant part in the struggle between Pope Gregory VII and Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and briefly governed Rome from 1107–1108. In the feud between the Orsini and Colonna families they supported the Orsini. Their power was at its greatest when they achieved the election of Pope Honorius II in 1124. In his Trattatello in laude di Dante, Boccaccio traces the descent of Dante from the family.
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The Frangipani first appear in a document of 1014. Their name is said to come from the fact that one of their ancestors distributed bread to the poor during a great famine. The arms of the family was gules, two lions rampant opposed holding a loaf of bread in their paws.
During the twelfth century, the Frangipani were the chief adversaries of the Pierleoni family, whose Cardinal Pietro was raised to the papacy as Anacletus II. In the early thirteenth century the Colosseum was fortified by the Frangipani and the Annibaldi. One of the cadet branches of the family gave rise to the Croatian family of the Frankopan. The family remained influential until after the Renaissance. Mario Frangipani (1506-1569) served as a conservatore of Rome several times, as well as a chancellor. Fabio Mirto Frangipani was papal nuncio in France (1568-72 and 1586-87), and Ottavio Mirto Frangipani was nuncio in Flanders (1596-1606). The Frangipani Chapel, frescoed by Taddeo Zuccari, is in the church of San Marcello al Corso.
- Francesco Frascarelli (1970). Frangipani (in Italian). Enciclopedia Dantesca. Accessed December 2013.