The house of Attems is a noble Uradel family with the titles of Counts, Barons and Princes originating in the former March of Friuli. Their family lineage started to form in the early 12th century at the fortress of Attimis (Attems) near Cividale, Italy. Its main lineages branch in Italy and Austria.
One Konrad of Attems, presumably immigrated from Swabia, was first mentioned in a 1102 deed. Among his descendants were Arbo de Attems (died after 2 February 1170) and Henricus de Attems (died 1193). The family had a seat and voice among the Friulian estates at the time when the lands were ruled by the Patriarchs of Aquileia.
The Attems family has origins in the north-eastern italian region of Friuli, residing in the castle overlooking the town of Attimis, UD. thus taking the name from the latter. Ownership of the Attems Castles was is dated back to the Marquess of Moosburg, i.e. the bishop of Salzburg Berthold. The latter, on the third of November 1106 donated his properties in Friuli, including the ones in Attimis "castrum jacet [...] ad locum qui dicitur Attems" to their relative Matilde Attems and her husband Corrado. These properties then passed on to their son, Voldarico Attems, which at the time was already Marquess of Tuscany, therefore were donated to the Patriarch of Aquileia. In 1275 Artinedo and Purcardo d’Attems obtained the reinvestiture from the patriarch Marquardo di Randek.
In 1387 the family was allied, like many others, to the Counts da Camino and to the Princes da Carrara. The family hired the venture captain Bello di Portogallo and his mercenaries, which, attending compensation for their service, took the Attems’ Lower Castle as guarantee. The 10th of February 1387 these payments were settled and the stronghold returned. That same year, Udine sent to Attimis cannons and different military instruments aimed at the defence of the lower stronghold, which made it amongst the first ones in Italy to possess such weaponry.
Meanwhile, the Upper castle of Attimis fell into ruin, and the same faith overtook the lower one not much after (1484) due to widespread utilisation of bombard cannons. In light of such the Attems built at the base of the hill a fortified manor which the Italian branch of the family resided in until 1944 when it was burnt down by the Nazifascist regime.
After the conquest of Friuli by the Republic of Venice and the incorporation into the Domini di Terraferma by 1433, a part of the family remained in Attimis while Frederick of Attems (1447–1521) moved to Gorizia (Görz), where in 1473 he became chancellor to the last Count Leonhard. When the latters comital line became extinct in 1500, he was confirmed in that office (Count) by the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I and in 1506 even was appointed governor of the Gorizia lands on behalf of the Inner Austrian archdukes.
Frederick's heirs split into the cadet branches of Heiligenkreuz and Petzenstein. Since then, the Attems family played an important role in the Habsburg Monarchy; both lines were elevated to the rank of Freiherren (Barons) in 1605 and given the title of Reichsgrafen (Counts of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1630 (Heiligenkreuz) and 1653 (Petzenstein).
Karl Michael of Attems, born in Gorizia on the first of July 1711, was a canon in the Cathedral of Basilea, apostolic vicariate for the area of the empire belonging to the Patriarchate of Aquileia. The 24th of august 1750 he was sacredly nominated Bishop of Pergamo. On the 24th of April 1752 he was nominated first archbishop of the new Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gorizia. In 1766 he was nominated Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.
In the Baroque period, the House of Attems was the richest and most influential noble family in the Duchy of Styria. In 1702 Count Ignaz Maria ordered the construction of Palais Attems in Graz, which became home of his extensive art collections; it is today part of the Graz Historic Centre World Heritage Site. In 1861, the heads of the Heiligenkreuz branch were also appointed hereditary members of the Austrian House of Lords.
Notable Historic Properties
- Palace Dvorec Štatenberg: The summer palace of the Counts of Attems.
In the countriside of Štajerska we find one of the most beautiful palaces of the Baroque period on slovenian territory. The palace was constructed at the end of the 17th century and completed around 1740 by Ignazio Maria von Attems, from the branch Attems-Petzenstein. The Palace is found about 15km south of Slovenska Bistrica, where the family owned a castle in the city centre (then nationalised by the jugoslavian state after the second world war). The palace consists of an italian baroque-style garden, remarkable stuccoes and frescoes, particularly found in the knight’s hall.
The Attems Petzenstein Palace, located in the center of the city of Gorizia near Piazza della Vittoria, was built in the first half of the 18th century by the Attems family. The structure built on the basis of a project by architect Nicolò Pacassi, characterized by a style of transition between the baroque and the rococò, was subjected to neoclassical restructuring in the first half of the nineteenth century, which made the original features of the façade unrecognizable. The seven statues that surmount it, representing subjects of Olympus, are the work of the Bergamo sculptor Giovanni Battista Mazzoleni. The historical and artistic heritage of this building, as well as being represented by the various stuccos and frescoes dating back to the last part of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is also enhanced by the canvas depicting "Gli dei dell'Olimpo" located on the ceiling of the great internal hall, attributed to the painter Antonio Paroli (1745). Also interesting is the internal Italian-style garden with the fountain of the Hercules in the center. The Pinacoteca of Palazzo Attems Petzenstein counts works by some masters of the eighteenth century Veneto, many nineteenth-century portraits (including some paintings by Giuseppe Tominz) and a collection of works of the twentieth century (among the authors we find Italico Brass, Luigi Spazzapan, Tullio Crali and Vittorio Bolaffio).
Donava Manor belonged to the Lords of Ptuj (the Herbersteins and Sauers) in the Middle Ages. In 1730, it was bought by Count Dizma Attems and redesigned as a baroque park and garden. Ptuj is one of the oldest towns in Slovenia and was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Ignazio Maria von Attems, the founder of the Graz line of the noble family Attems from Friuli-Italy, acquired six town houses between 1687 and 1702, which stood on the site of the present palace. He commissioned the architect Johann Joachim Carlone with the construction of a city palace. Andreas Stengg is presumed to be another involved master builder. The work lasted from 1702 to 1716. The U-shaped, blocky building with four storeys encloses a square courtyard. The Baroque facade is richly decorated with stucco work by Domenico Boscho, both on the street side and in the courtyard. The façade design was influenced by northern Italian palace buildings. The lower floors have been combined to form a base zone and have windows with rustic stone framing. On the two upper floors, the windows are provided with brow arch suspensions and stuccoed vases. The upper façade storeys are separated from the lower zone by ionic and composite pilasters, between which a belt cornice runs. In the interior of the palace, the stucco is decorated with gold, silver and copper plating. The ceiling and super portrait pictures contain representations from the Old Testament and an ancient mythological motives. The pieces of the extensive art collection were lost in the postwar period.
Built in 1740 on the design of architect Nicolò Pacassi, the building currently houses the headquarters of the Municipality of Gorizia. Of the original configuration of Palazzo Attems there is only the general structure, the internal staircase and its loggia that overlooks the back garden. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the building was extensively renovated, resulting partially modified both in the distribution structure and in the facade design. The configuration of the staircase body reveals the influence of the Venetian architectural tradition of the seventeenth century. The lower level is characterised by a compact wall, while at the level above it opens a loggia punctuated by Ionic columns. The building is embellished in the rear part of a garden, from the original eighteenth-century plant, then modified in the nineteenth century, currently considerably smaller than the original extension.
The property Villa Attems Cernozza de Postcastro is documented at the end of the 15th century as owned by the ancient noble family from Gorizia “dei Postcastro”. The property was inherited by the family “dai Cernozza”. The Baroness Beninia Cernozza de Postcastro will marry Massimiliano Attems in 1649 making the property patrimony of the Attems family.
Notable individuals from the Attems family include the following:
- Anton Attems (1834–1891), an Austrian baron and politician
- Ermest Amadeus Thomas Attems (1694–1757), bishop of Ljubljana
- Ferdinand von Attems (1746–1820), Count Governor of Styria, Baron of Sveti Križ (Heiligenkreuz/Santa Croce)
- Henry Attems (1834–1909), Austrian pomologists
- Ignatius Maria Attems (1774–1861), Governor of Styria, Baron of Sveti Križ
- Johannes Attems (*1947), Austrian banker
- Joseph Oswald von Attems (1679–1744), Bishop of Lavant
- Karl Michael von Attems (1707–1774), Archbishop of Gorizia and Prince of the Holy Roman Empire
- Maria Viktoria von Attems (1899–1983), Austrian painter, draftsman, illustrator and designer
- Ottokar Maria von Attems (1815–1867), Bishop of Seckau
- Sigmund von Attems (1708–1758), Austrian historian
- Sophie Countess Attems-Heiligenkreuz (1862–1937), Austrian writer
- Sule Attems (born 1960), born in Istanbul, a visual artist, lives in Vienna and Schoenberg at Kamp
- Johannes Attems (born 1969), a noted Professor of Neuropathology
The Attems family lineage can be found in several books:
- Annuaro della Nobilità Italiana
- The Austrian State Archives
- Deutsches Adelslexikon
- Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels GHdA
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to House of Attems.|
- Genealogy of the Attems on GENEALOGY.EU → , , ,  u. 
- Attems (Adelsgeschlecht) entry in the Austria-Forum
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