Duchy of Mirandola

Duchy of Mirandola
Duchy of Mirandola
Ducato della Mirandola

Capital Mirandola
Language(s) Italian
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Monarchy
Historical era Italian Renaissance
 - Established 1310
 - Disestablished 1710

The Duchy of Mirandola was a state which existed in Italy from 1310 until 1711, centered in Mirandola (in what is now the province of Modena) and ruled by the Pico family.


The Pico were a noble family first known for one Hugh, a vassal of Mathilda of Canossa in the 11th century. In the following centuries, members of the family were podestà in Modena and Reggio Emilia, until, in 1311, Francesco Pico received by emperor Henry VII the fiefs of Quarantoli and San Possidonio in reward of his help during the war against the Este. In 1353 Paolo Pico obtained by the bishops of Reggio the fief of San Martino Spino, and in the following year emperor Charles IV freed the Pico from the dominance of the bishops, placing Mirandola directly under the imperial suzerainty.

In 1432 Giovanni Pico received by emperor Sigismund the title of count of Concordia. The city was strongly fortified, and, in the course of the Italian Wars, it was allied with France. It was besieged two times by the Papal troops under Julius II (1510-1511), who personally attacked its walls, and Julius III (1551-1552). In the second occasion, the fortress resisted successfully under the command of Ludovico Pico and Piero Strozzi. In 1597, after returning under the imperial umbrella, Mirandola obtained the title of city and the Picos were named princes of Mirandola and marquesses of Concordia. In 1617 Alessandro I was finally declared duke.

The main economical activities in Renissance times were animal husbandry, agriculture and, starting from the 17th century, silk clothes. The duchy however suffered from internal crisis and the numerous military operations in the area, such as in 1630 when it was ravaged by the imperial troops.

The last lord was Francesco Maria Pico, who was charged of treason after having been forced to cease the fortress to the French. The duchy was acquired by the Duchy of Modena under the House of Este, who bought it for 175,000 golden doppie.

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