The Canossa

The Canossa, whose roots can be traced to the 9th century, is one of the Italy’s oldest and most illostrious families. The most famous event occurred in 1077 during the Investiture Controversy, when the Great Countess Matilda mediated between Pope Gregory VII and the Emperor Henry IV in the famous episode known as the “Humiliation of Canossa”.

Canossa coat of arms

Canossa coat of arms

At the time of its greatest expansion, around 1100, the influence of the Canossas was vast extending from the Garda lake in the north to the northern Lazio in the south. The province of Reggio Emilia was the heart of the family’s military and political power. Within a century, they commissioned major infrastructural projects. The Canossas controlled most of the trades between Central Europe and Italy and to the Adriatic sea through the Via Emilia, by securing the main communication routes between the Appennini mountains and the Po river for the first time.
The Canossa family has always been close to agriculture and has been a keen supporter of the reclamation tecnique on its lands. The entrust system of the raclaimed lands, known as “Compartecipanze Matildiche”, provided a nine-year rotation in the land allocated to the farmers. A thousand years later, this type of organization still exists.

“Et filii filiorum et semen illorum habitabunt in saecula”