Montferrat

Montferrat

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Montferrat is part of the region of Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

 in Northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. It comprises roughly (and its extent has varied over time) the modern provinces of Alessandria
Province of Alessandria
The Province of Alessandria is an Italian province, with a population of some 430,000, which forms the southeastern part of the region of Piedmont. The provincial capital is the city of Alessandria....

 and Asti
Province of Asti
The Province of Asti is a province in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Its capital is the city of Asti. To the north west it borders on the province of Turin; to the south west it borders on the province of Cuneo. To the east it borders on the province of Alessandria, while in the south it...

. Montferrat is one of the most important wine districts of Italy. It also has a strong literary tradition, including the 18th century Asti-born poet and dramatist Vittorio Alfieri
Vittorio Alfieri
Count Vittorio Alfieri was an Italian dramatist, considered the "founder of Italian tragedy."-Early life:Alfieri was born at Asti in Piedmont....

 and the Alessandrian Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

.

The territory is cut in two by the river Tanaro
Tanaro River
The Tanaro , known as Tanarus in ancient times, is a 276 km-long river in northwestern Italy. It rises in the Ligurian Alps, close to the border with France and is the most significant right-side tributary to the Po in terms of length, size of drainage basin and discharge.-Source:The Tanaro proper...

. The northern part (the Basso Monferrato), which lies between that river and the Po
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

, is an area of rolling hills and plains. The southern part (the Alto Monferrato) rises from the banks of the Tanaro into the mountains of the Apennines
Apennine mountains
The Apennines or Apennine Mountains or Greek oros but just as often used alone as a noun. The ancient Greeks and Romans typically but not always used "mountain" in the singular to mean one or a range; thus, "the Apennine mountain" refers to the entire chain and is translated "the Apennine...

 and the water divide between Piedmont and Liguria
Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

.

History


Originally a county, it was elevated to a margravate
March of Montferrat
The March of Montferrat was frontier march of the Kingdom of Italy during the Middle Ages and state of the Holy Roman Empire...

 of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 under Count Aleramo
Aleramo of Montferrat
Aleram was the marquess of Montferrat and Liguria in Northern Italy until his death. He was son of William I of Montferrat and is mentioned in documents for the first time in 933 when he received a fief near Vercelli by Hugh of Italy...

 in 961, following the transition of power in Northern Italy from Berengar of Ivrea to Otto I of Germany
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

. Its marchesi (marquesses) and their family members were related to the Kings of France and the Holy Roman Emperors. Members of the family participated frequently in the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, and intermarried with the royal family of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 and the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Imperial families of Comnenus, Angelus and Palaeologus.

Montferrat was briefly controlled by Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 (1533–1536) before it passed to the Gonzaga
House of Gonzaga
The Gonzaga family ruled Mantua in Northern Italy from 1328 to 1708.-History:In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua, and in 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Duchy of Monferrato through marriage...

 Dukes of Mantua
Duchy of Mantua
The Duchy of Mantua was a duchy in Lombardy, Northern Italy, subject to the Holy Roman Empire.-History:After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Mantua was invaded by Byzantines, Longobards and Franks. In the 11th century it became a possession of Boniface of Canossa, marquis of Toscana...

 (1536–1708). In 1574, Montferrat was raised to a Duchy
Duchy of Montferrat
The Duchy of Montferrat was created out of what was left of the March of Montferrat after the last Palaeologus heir had died and the margraviate been briefly controlled by Spain . After that brief interlude, it passed to the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua...

 by Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian II was king of Bohemia and king of the Romans from 1562, king of Hungary and Croatia from 1563, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1564 until his death...

. With the War of the Mantuan Succession
War of the Mantuan Succession
The War of the Mantuan Succession was a peripheral part of the Thirty Years' War. Its casus belli was the extinction of the direct male line of the House of Gonzaga in December 1627. Brothers Francesco IV , Ferdinando and Vincenzo II , the last three dukes of Gonzaga, had all died leaving no...

 (1628–1631) a piece of the duchy passed to the Duchy of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

, the remainder passing to Savoy in 1708, as Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

 gained possession of the Gonzaga territory.The next heir of the House of Gonzaga
House of Gonzaga
The Gonzaga family ruled Mantua in Northern Italy from 1328 to 1708.-History:In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua, and in 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Duchy of Monferrato through marriage...

 was later compensated by giving Duchy of Teschen in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 to them

The Duchy of Montferrat had an area of 2750 km², and consisted of two separate parts bordered by the Duchy of Savoy
Duchy of Savoy
From 1416 to 1847, the House of Savoy ruled the eponymous Duchy of Savoy . The Duchy was a state in the northern part of the Italian Peninsula, with some territories that are now in France. It was a continuation of the County of Savoy...

, the Duchy of Milan
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

, and the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

. Moncalvo
Moncalvo
Moncalvo is a city and comune in the Province of Asti in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 45 km east of Turin and about 15 km northeast of Asti on the national road SS 547 which links Asti to Casale Monferrato and Vercelli...

  (which was the very first capital) and Chivasso
Chivasso
Chivasso is a comune in the Province of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 20 km northeast of Turin. Chivasso has a population of about 25,000...

, along with Casale Monferrato
Casale Monferrato
Casale Monferrato, population 36,058, is a town and comune in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, part of the province of Alessandria. It is situated about 60 km east of Turin on the right bank of the Po, where the river runs at the foot of the Montferrato hills. Beyond the river lies the...

 are considered the historic capitals of March of Montferrat
March of Montferrat
The March of Montferrat was frontier march of the Kingdom of Italy during the Middle Ages and state of the Holy Roman Empire...

. Nowadays Asti
Asti
Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

 is a major centre, being located at the core of Montferrat's geographic region.

Sacro Monte di Crea


The Sacred Mountain of Crea
Sacro Monte di Crea
The Sacro Monte di Crea is a Roman Catholic sanctuary in the comune of Serralunga di Crea, Piedmont, northern Italy...

 (Italian: Sacro Monte di Crea) is a Roman Catholic sanctuary in the comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

of Serralunga di Crea
Serralunga di Crea
Serralunga di Crea is a comune in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 45 km east of Turin and about 35 km northwest of Alessandria....

 (Montferrat), near Alessandria
Alessandria
-Monuments:* The Citadel * The church of Santa Maria di Castello * The church of Santa Maria del Carmine * Palazzo Ghilini * Università del Piemonte Orientale-Museums:* The Marengo Battle Museum...

. It is one of the nine Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO World Heritage list.

Its construction was begun in 1589, around a former Sanctuary of St. Mary whose creation is traditionally attributed to St. Eusebius, around 350 AD.




See also

  • Rulers of Montferrat
    Rulers of Montferrat
    The Marquises and Dukes of Montferrat were the rulers of a territory in Piedmont south of the Po and east of Turin called Montferrat. The March of Montferrat was created by Berengar II of Italy in 950 during a redistribution of power in the northwest of his kingdom. It was originally named after...

    , for a full list of marquesses and dukes
  • March of Montferrat
    March of Montferrat
    The March of Montferrat was frontier march of the Kingdom of Italy during the Middle Ages and state of the Holy Roman Empire...

  • Duchy of Montferrat
    Duchy of Montferrat
    The Duchy of Montferrat was created out of what was left of the March of Montferrat after the last Palaeologus heir had died and the margraviate been briefly controlled by Spain . After that brief interlude, it passed to the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua...

  • Iudiciaria Torrensis
    Iudiciaria Torrensis
    The iudiciaria Torrensis, also known as fines Torrenses, comitatus Toresianus or Torresana, was a Carolingian district of north-west Italy which is referred to in charters from the second half of the 9th century and from the early years of the century following...


Sources


External links