Malatesta Family (Part 1)
Malatesta da Varucchio became Signore of Rimini in the year 1275.
He had 4 wifes and from them 4 children.
He reigned until his death in 1312.
|Malatesta the one-eyed
reigned in Rimini
from 1312 - 1317
|Giovanni the lame
reigned in Pesaro
killed his wife and his brother
|Paolo the nice
his descendants became
Conte of Ghiazzolo
murdered by brother Giovanni
followed his brother
reigned in Rimini 1317 - 1326
killed his nephew
MALATESTA, ruling family of Rimini and a large part of Romagna in the middle ages, and which is allied with the most illustrious ruling houses of Italy, was a branch of the family of Counts of Carpegna, from which came also the Montefeltro, Dukes of Urbino. One of these Counts, who was surnamed Malatesta ("bad head"), and who was ruler of the Penna dei Billi, gave his surname to his descendants around the beginning of the 12th century.
The House of Carpegna, out of which the Malatesta and the Montefeltro came, was, in the 12th century, one of the oldest and most illustrious in Italy. The Bolognese Guelfs, relentlessly pursuing the Lambertazzi, in 1275 chose Malatesta, ruler of Verrucchio, and the most distinguished among the Guelf nobility of Rimini, to lead their army against the towns of Faenza and Forli.
Malatesta had against him Count Guido de Montefeltro, the most effective general of his century; he was surprised by him at the Bridge of San-Procolo; and, in his retreat, lost 4 to 5,000 men killed, and as many taken prisoner. This defeat did nothing to discredit him; an unlucky glow is also a means to celebrity, and Malatesta continued to be the leader of the Guelfs of Romagna.
Obliged in 1268 to leave Rimini, where the Ghibeline party had prevailed, he left his children masters of the two fortresses of Sant-Archangelo and Monte-Scutolo. In 1292, he came back into his homeland, and the 19th December 1295, he was proclaimed Lord by the people, after having chased out of Rimini Parcitade, leader of the Ghibelines, whose neice he had however married.
Malatesta de Verrucchio retained the sovereignty which he had acquired until his death, coming in 1312. He had had of his three wives four sons, all equally valiant, who followed him in government and led his armies. At that time the factions reigned in Romagna in all their violence; he had to endlessly fight and be on guard against surprises. Guido de Montefeltro, the formidable head of the Ghibeline party, did not let the Guelfs rest for an instant; and Malatesta, to defend his reputation and his power against such an adversary, needed the rare talent and grand activity that he deployed during his entire reign.
- MALATESTINO, his eldest son who succeeded him, was one of the rulers of this family most cherished by the people; his bravery, his prudence and his generosity distinguished him above all the princes of Italy; but the violence of his partisan spirit and the extreme hatred he had for anyone with Ghibeline sympathies contributed, perhaps more still than his virtues, to endear him to the Guelfs.
The family of the Malatesti was not particularly favoured by nature; Malatestino was one-eyed, his brother Giovanni was lame and deformed: this last had married Francesca, daughter of Guido the Old of Polenta, ruler of Ravenna. Francesca was seduced by Paolo, her brother-in-law, the only one among the four Malatesta brothers whose form was elegant. Giovanni the Lame surprised them together and killed both of them. The love and misfortune of Francesca of Rimini were celebrated by Dante, in the fifth canto of the Inferno; and this episode is perhaps that which one finds the most tender and delicate in all Italian poetry. Giovanni the Lame and his son died a little after this tragic event. Paolo had left a son from whom came the branch of the Counts of Ghiazzolo.
Malatestino, in 1314, seized Cesena, the rulership of which he joined to that of Rimini. He died in 1317, leaving a son named Ferrantino. However, it was his brother Pandolfo who succeeded him.
Simonde Sismondi's entire series of entries on the family Malatesta
from the Biographie Générale, around 1855.
Translated by Ross G. Caldwell