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'L'Aurora' di Guido Reni, 1613-1614




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  the Pallavicini Family  
he most famous of the Italian Pallavicini families was the one that flourished in the area located between the cities of Parma, Piacenza and Cremona and that, for a long time, ruled over a vast State of which the city of Busseto was the capital and chief town.
The Emilian Pallavicini's produced famous generals, commanders, statesmen and men of law. In Busseto, the Renaissance Villa Pallavicini is the seat of the Verdi Museum. A branch of this family flourished in Turin also.
Another Italian Pallavicini family settled in Genoa but, unlike the Emilian branch, it produced not generals, commanders and statesmen but mainly prelates and clever diplomats. This occurred in Genoa from the twelfth century on, with Nicolò di Alberto "The Greek" and the family soon became one of the most prominent in Ligurian society.

The branch that moved to Rome and that interests us directly came from the Genoese family.

In 1607 Nicolò Pallavicini met Rubens, the great Flemish painter, when the Duke of Mantua was a guest of the Pallavicini family in their Genoese palace. The Flemish artist painted many masterpieces including the series of the thirteen panels ("Christ and the Twelve Apostles ") that still decorate the Pallavicini picture gallery. Nicolò also met Antonio Van Dyck (Antwerp, 1599 - London, 1641) who, during his stay in Genoa, painted a "Portrait of a gentleman" (also in the Gallery), which, according to tradition, represents one of the Pallavicini's, perhaps Nicolò himself. The marquis married Maria Lomellini and the marriage was prolific, with twenty-two children, including: Lazzaro and Stefano. He died in 1653.

Lazzaro Pallavicini was born in Genoa in 1602. He soon came to Rome, bringing his brother Stefano with him. Clement IX, on 29 November 1669, that is to say at his last consistory, raised him to the rank of cardinal.
 Cardinal Lazzaro Pallavicini was a great art lover 
Cardinal Lazzaro Pallavicini always had a great passion for works of arte and particularly paintings, of which he owned a large collection inherited from his father, Nicolò.
When he came to Rome with his brother Stefano and his niece Maria Camilla, he had a double problem to solve: finding a dignified residence for himself, his brother and his niece and a suitable place to install the collection of paintings, a collection that kept growing and would form an integral part of the fideicommissum created by the Cardinal.
In 1674, for 50,000 scudi, Stefano bought the Old Palace of the Barberini family at Monte di Pietà e ai Giubbonari, also known as Casa Grande dei Barberini (the Barberinis' Big House), a magnificent building that has come down to our time with a great deal of alterations and is now the seat of the "Vittoria Colonna" Teachers' Training College.
The building was sold to Stefano Pallavicini, father of Maria Camilla, by the heirs of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, but was transferred by an agreement for redemption "redimendi" within a period of twenty years. Stefano named his brother, Cardinal Lazzaro, as his heir and the latter immediately moved into the building, establishing his court and his beloved collection of paintings there and arranging that, on his death, everything would go to the second-born of Giovan Battista Rospigliosi, Maria Camilla's husband, in other words to the new branch of the Pallavicini family. Nevertheless the Cardinal's heirs only remained in possession of the building until 1694 because Cardinal Antonio Barberini took it over from Nicolò Pallavicini, the second son of Giovan Battista Rospigliosi and Maria Camilla, Stefano's daughter.
 1708. Maria Camilla Pallavicini took up residence in Palazzo del Giardino in Monte Cavallo 
But the problem of residence could be considered brilliantly solved for both families: the Pallavicini family took up residence in Palazzo del Giardino in Monte Cavallo, which Maria Camilla bought in 1708 from Marquis Giacomo Ippolito Mancini; while the Barberini family took up residence in their magnificent, recently built, palace of the Quattro Fontane.

Cardinal Lazzaro had always wanted to have his niece, Maria Camilla, marry the grandnephew of Clement IX, Giovan Battista Rospigliosi, and to create for their heirs, descending from the second-born son (obviously, the firstborn would have to continue the Rospigliosi line), a rich princely dynasty that would ensure the continuation of the Pallavicini branch that had moved to Rome with him and his brother Stefano. The august wedding was celebrated after the death of Clement IX. The two large estates that the two families had bought from the Ludovisi family (the Duchy of Zagarolo, by the Rospigliosi's and the Principality of Gallicano together with the Marquisate of the Colonna family by the Pallavicini's), were joined together in the persons of the two spouses, pending subsequent separation expected when their heirs arrived. All this was on the basis of the fideicommissum (or rather the right of the second-born) set up by Cardinal Lazzaro Pallavicini. In other words, he arranged that if the spouses had only one male son that son would inherit, together with the Rospigliosi surname, also the Pallavicini name and the related coat of arms, the princely title and everything that went with it, as well as the ownership of the collection of paintings. In that case the fideicommissum property linked with the Pallavicini name would have to be passed on unaltered and integral until the birth of a second son, who would start the new branch of the Pallavicini family of Rome.
However, if the spouses only had one female heir she would have to link the surname and property of the Pallavicini's with her future husband and first-born descendants.

Cardinal Lazzaro, having thus ensured the lineage and now being of delicate health but laden with years (78) and merit, serenely ended his earthly life in Rome in 1680. His brother Stefano followed him to the grave a few years later. His niece, Maria Camilla Rospigliosi, who during the last years of her life devoted herself more intensely to good works, stipulated in her will that her father and her uncle should be buried in the noble chapel, of San Francesco a Ripa, in a single magnificent funeral monument to be built at her expense. Maria Camilla died on 6 September 1710, and the Duke of Zagarolo, Giovan Battista Rospigliosi, in deference to the wishes of his pious wife, commissioned the architect Nicolò Michetti and the sculptor Giuseppe Mazzuoli to build a combined monument for his father-in-law Stefano Pallavicini and the latter's brother Cardinal Lazzaro on the left wall of the chapel and another, similar monument on the right wall, for his wife Maria Camilla and himself. Giovan Battista was the last of the four to die, on 13 July 1722.
Two male children were born from the marriage between Giovan Battista Rospigliosi, first Duke of Zagaralo and nephew of Clement IX, and Maria Camilla Pallavicini, daughter of Stefano and niece of Cardinal Lazzaro; the first son inherited the surname, entitlements and property of the paternal house while the second-born, in accordance with the fideicommissum created by Cardinal Lazzaro in 1670. took the Pallavicini surname and was endowed with the related entitlements and property. It therefore seemed that the two Houses were destined, starting with that generation, to develop each one on its own and completely independently.
However, for at least two centuries and for at least four more succeeding generations, things did not work out like that at all. As things stood, as laid down in the fideicommissum, the entitlements and property created by Cardinal Lazzaro kept returning, from time to time, even though only in temporary custody, into the hands of the legitimate Rospigliosi heir until the necessary conditions for the final separation of the two Houses occurred in the nineteenth century with the second-born son of Giulio Cesare Rospigliosi Pallavicini.
With Girolamo, born on 27 August 1907, the Rospigliosi suffered an irreparable financial crisis, a real economic crash, which caused the family, little by little, to dispose of all the land and buildings it owned. First they had to dispose of the estates and palaces in Zagarolo and Maccarese, then half of their share in the Palazzo di Monte Cavallo, that is to say the right half of the building, which had been assigned to their ancestors since 1704 and where the Rospigliosi had lived for more than three centuries, while the left half of the building was assigned to their relatives, the Pallavicini's (who were living there then and still live there). But sacrificing the land and the houses was not enough to stave off ruin; the Rospigliosi's were forced to dispose even of their share in the picture gallery. The famous paintings were sold off, at first in small groups and then at two big auction sales: one in April 1931 and the other in December 1932.
Don Francesco Pallavicini, son of Giulio Cesare Rospigliosi and brother of Clement Rospigliosi Gioeni, with whom the Pallavicini family finally separated from the dukes of Zagarolo, was born in Rome on 2 March 1828. In 1854 he married twenty-year-old Maria Carolina Boncompagni Ludovisi, daughter of the Prince of Piombino. By a resolution of the Capitoline Heraldic Commission, Pius IX recognised for him and his descendants the right to take the surname, entitlements and property deriving to his family from the fideicommissum of Cardinal Lazzaro, and Victor Emmanuel II appointed him senator of the kingdom of Italy. He died in Rome, at the age of 59 on 14 January 1887.

He had six children, including Margherita, born in 1868, who married Marquis Mario Misciatelli. From this marriage was born Maria Carolina Misciatelli who married the French noble Count Pierre de Bernis de Courtavel, whose son, Guglielmo, was recognised as a Pallavicini and heir to all the family's entitlements. In fact Margherita's brother, Giulio, was born in Rome in 1871. When his brother, Uberto, died without heirs in 1921, he was vested with all the entitlements, property and rights of the House. In 1929, since he was also without male heirs, he adopted Count Guglielmo de Pierre de Bernis de Courtavel, son of his niece Maria Carolina Misciatelli, and the latter was officially recognised as a Pallavicini, taking on the surname, entitlements, property and rights.
The new Prince of Gallicano, Don Guglielmo, married Donna Elvina dei Medici del Vascello di Genova, a descendant of the celebrated hero of the Romanian Republic of 1849. By a strange coincidence, three centuries from when Maria Camilla Pallavicini came to Rome from Genoa, the destiny of the family returned once again to the hands of a Genoese noblewoman. In her dowry Donna Elvina also brought from Genoa a valuable group of works of art, including some panels of the Piedmontese school (Defendente Ferrari, Gandolfino d'Asti, etc.), which enriched the already substantial collection brought to Rome by the Genoese ancestors, Cardinal Lazzaro and Stefano Pallavicini.

In the meantime, Victor Emanuel III, by a decree of 1937, authorised Guglielmo and Elvina Pallavicini not only to legitimately bear the surname of the noble House but also to lay legal claim to the entitlements related to it. Only one daughter was born to the marriage and was given the auspicious name of Maria Camilla, the same as the niece of cardinal Lazzaro.
Guglielmo fell fighting heroically during the last war.
In 1968 Maria Camilla married Armando Diaz della Vittoria, nephew of General Diaz, and two sons, Sigieri and Moroello, were born of this marriage.

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