Farnese family

Parma (PR)

Ranuccio Farnese


Alexander Farnese was born in 1545 and died in 1592.
Ranuccio I Farnese was born 1569 and died in 1622.

Originated in upper Lazio and noted through its statesmen and soldiers, the noble Farnese family acquired the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza in 1545, following the election of Alexander as Pope Paul III, and ruled it until 1731, at the extinction of the house after the death of Antonio.
Among the members of the family, undoubtedly worth of notice were Alexander and Ranuccio.

Alexander Farnese was the nephew of Philip II of Spain and of Don John of Austria.
In 1565 his marriage with the princess Maria of Portugal was celebrated with great splendour and he settled with her in Parma until 1570. In 1577 Alexander was sent to join Don John at the head of reinforcements in the provinces of the Netherlands which had revolted against the oppressive Spanish rule. In the service of Spain, he led a significant military and diplomatic career, doubling the size of Spain’s holdings in the Netherlands through his conquests and ensuring Spanish rule in the southern provinces.

In 1586, by the death of his father, Alexander Farnese became Duke of Parma, but when he applied for leave to visit his paternal territory, Philip would not permit it as he could not replace him in the Netherlands.
Alexander was succeeded by his son Ranuccio I, Duke of Parma between 1569 and 1622, when the Pilotta Palace and Farnese Theatre were built, who was a distinguished ruler, reformed the duchy’s administration and judicial system, was a benefactor of education and continued the family’s patronage of the arts.
He married Margherita Aldobrandini, niece of Clemente VIII, and he had three children: Maria, later married with Francesco D’Este, Francesco, later cardinal, and his successor Odoardo.