grand prix vintage car, countess matilde di canossa, feudal state, The Canossa Lands

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The Canossa Lands

The history of the Canossa Lands

Terre of Canossa
In the 12th century, the lands of the feudal State of Countess Matilde of Canossa went from Brescia to Viterbo, including important cities such as Cremona, Mantova, Ferrara, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, La Spezia, Pisa, Lucca, Firenze, Arezzo, Siena, Grosseto and Perugia.

A mighty fortified system protected the feudal State of the Canossa Lands that Countess Matilde ruled between the 11th and the 12th century.

The origin of castles goes back to the Attonidi family, from whom Matilde descended; this family strengthened the northern border of its territories, between the Taro and Reno rivers. These defensive structures were a safety guarantee, and they were also symbols of their authority. Probably, the Matildic castles were often built through reinforcing pre-existing structures.

The fortified lines (mostly in The Apennines near Reggio) went from east to west on different heights. Canossa, for instance, is located on a intermediate defensive line, while Bianello faced directly to the planes, to counteract enemies coming from the north. Matilde’s castles have been destroyed firstly from the intolerant "Comuni" and then during the “Signorie” period.

Matilde’s territory was characterized not only by castles and villages, but also by churches (pieve), representing its religious dimension. Those churches also assisted the population, and where, for this reason built in strategical locations, often near the castles. They were full-fledged administrative centres of the Matildic territory, and benefited from the support of the Countess herself. The churches were maintained thanks to the decime (tithes), the tax-like offers of the parishioners. Only a few of these buildings still maintain their original architectonical elements, since they were deeply modified later on.

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