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History of Todi

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History of Todi: Main Page     Ancient History

Ancient History

See my page on the History of Ancient Todi.

Early Christianity

Todi became a diocese in the 4th century.  However, the presence of another early diocese at Vicus Martis Tudertium (later Civitas Martana) and of a Christian catacomb at nearby Villa San Faustino that was in use from the 2nd century suggests that the new religion was well-established in the region by that time.

St Terentian, according to his legend (BHL 8000-3) a bishop of Todi who was martyred under the Emperor Hadrian (117-38) might have been an early bishop of Todi (although, if so, this would not have been at such an early date).  The historical evidence for two bishop martyrs of Todi in the Roman Martyrology, SS Cassian and Callistus, is tentative.

Bishop Cresconius, the earliest securely documented bishop of Todi:

  1. Pope Gelasius I wrote to him and to Bishop John of Spoleto in 496, directing them to investigate legal claim against the recently-deceased Bishop Urbanus of Foligno. 

  2. Pope Anastasius II sent him as an ambassador to Byzantium in 497, together with Bishop Germanus of Capua.

  3. He also attended papal synods in Rome in 487, 496, 501 and 502.

There is no reason to doubt the historical existence of St Fortunatus, who appears in the Dialogues of St Gregory as a bishop of Todi at the time of Totila (see below).


Alaric may well have destroyed Vicus Martis Tudertium and nearby Carsulae as he marched on Rome in 410.

In 537, Witges left some 400 men as a rearguard at Todi as he marched on Rome [Procopius].

The territory of Massa Martana then became a battlefield during the battles between Totila and the Byzantines in 548, and the population found refuge in fortified settlements in the nearby hills.

Totila laid siege to Todi, but the city seems to have held out.

In 556, Totila’s troops marched through Todi on their way to the final battle with Narses, and took two children as hostages until St Fortunatus secured their release.


Todi was originally part of the Duchy of Spoleto, but imperial forces from the newly garrisoned Perugia were able to incorporate the city into their land corridor between Rome and Ravenna in the early 590s. 

Duke Ariulf of Spoleto seized the city in 592.

In 592, shortly after he succeeded his father as Duke of Spoleto, the Lombard Ariulf seized Perugia, while Duke Arichis of Benevento threatened Naples.  In the face of this duel threat to Rome itself, Pope Gregory I hastily agreed a truce with the Ariulf, without the permission of the Emperor Maurice (who accused him of having fallen for deception).  The Exarch Romanus (the representative of Byzantium) refused to recognise this truce, and withdrew forces from Narni and Rome in order to retake Perugia.  Gregory I bitterly described Romanus’ action as “abandoning Rome so that Perugia might be held”.  In fact, Romanus managed to take a number of cities from the Lombards (including, according to Paul the Deacon, Todi and Amelia as well as Perugia).

In 757, the Lombard King Desiderius and Pope Paul I sent their emissaries to define Todi's territorial boundary with the Duchy of Spoleto.  It seems that the territory around modern Massa Martana belonged to the Duchy, and that it had an important military and strategic function.  The name "Massa", which refers to a group of fortified dwellings, is often mentioned in Lombard documents.  The Castle of Massa probably dates to the late 7th century, at the time of the Lombard domination.

[The diocese of Civitas Martana was absorbed into the diocese of Todi in the 8th century.]


Todi was included in Pepin's donation to the papacy.

Pope Adrian sent Bishop Theophylactus of Todi to England in 787 and to the Council of Frankfurt in 794.

Todi probably remained under nominal papal control throughout the Frankish period, although the territory around modern Massa Martana remained within the Frankish Duchy of Spoleto.

Bishop Agatone II attended a the synod in Rome convened by Leo IV in 853.

Todi probably suffered at the hands of Saracen raiders in 876 and again in 882, when they devastated the surrounding territory.

A number of powerful families emerged in the contado of Todi in the 10th century: these included the Arnolfi, the Baschi, the Montemarte, the Alviani, the Atti and the Marsciani.

When the Emperor Otto III and Pope Silvester II were expelled from Rome in 1001, they travelled to Todi, where they held a synod to resolve a number of issues relating to the church in Germany.  Bishop Atto was influential at this meeting, and it seems to have heralded the start of an important era for Todi.

12th Century

When the Emperor Frederick I passed through Umbria in 1155 after his coronation, only Todi and Foligno enjoyed his favour. 

The first mention of the Commune of Todi is in a record of privileges that he granted to the city in 1171. 

Bishop Rustico Brancaleone (1179-1218) served as a papal legate on a number of occasions.

13th century

In his triumphal procession through Umbria in 1198, Pope Innocent III returned to Rome via Todi (where he issued a privilege that took Perugia under his protection) and Amelia.  

The first mention of a Podestà of Todi is in 1201, and of the Palatio Comunis is in 1206, although the office may not have been permanent at that time.

Innocent III intervened in Todi in 1207 to quell the strife there between the nobles and popolani, although he did not initially intervene when war broke out in that year between Todi and Orvieto.  Nor did he intervene in 1208 when Amelia submitted to Todi.

Todi (along with Terni and Amelia) defended Otricoli and Stroncone against Narni in 1216 at the request of Innocent III.  Matters escalated when Narni turned to Spoleto for support, at which point Terni turned to Foligno.  This led to outright war in the region, in which the two castles were destroyed and Amelia attacked.  Innocent III managed to end the war in 1216 and to force Narni to rebuild Stroncone, but the tension between the warring parties remained high.

Todi and Foligno were allied with Terni later in 1216 in another dispute with Narni (allied with Spoleto and Coccorone), this time over the control of a bridge across the Nera. 

In 1217, Terni submitted to Todi, and Pope Honorius III detached the diocese of Terni from that of Spoleto, giving it its own bishop.  Nevertheless, the uproar in the area persisted.

Emperor Frederick II (1215-50)

Bishop Bonifacio (1219-35) belonged to the family of the counts of Coldimezzo.

The Dominicans arrived in Todi in 1236, during the period that the Dominican, Giacomo Ghezzi was bishop.  Fra Giunto and a small number of friars settled near San Fortunato, but when the Vallombrosians objected, Bishop Ghezzi persuaded the pope to transfer the nearby Abbazia di San Leucio from the Premonstratensian Canons to the friars.

Todi received a severe papal admonition in 1237 when Bishop Giacomo Ghezzi ordered the demolition of Avigliano Umbro.  Todi also tried unsuccessfully to detach Lugnano from Orvieto at this time.  These setbacks seem to have caused (or been caused by) factional conflict within the city, and Todi put down a revolt by its own exiled Ghibellines and those of Amelia in 1238.

In 1239, Perugia formed a defensive alliance against the Emperor Frederick II with Spoleto, Todi, Gubbio and Foligno.

Todi, like Gubbio, Spoleto and Terni, defected to Frederick II in 1241 in return for the grant of imperial privileges.  The walls around Borgo Nuovo were built soon after.

End of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (1250-68)

Pope Innocent IV seems to have forgiven Todi by 1251, although the city was soon wracked by internal conflict.

Manfred’s victory at Foggia in 1254 gave new heart to the Ghibellines at Todi, where the Chiaravallesi drove the Atti out of the city.  However, Count Pandolfo II of Anguillara assembled an army from Spoleto and Perugia that took Todi and restored the Atti.  It must have been at this point that Pandolfo acquired the relics of St Terentian, which he gave to the town of Capranica (near Viterbo) when he acquired it in 1260.  St Terentian is still a patron saint of Capranica.

The office of Capitano del Popolo was instituted in 1255, and the Consiglio delle Arte was formed in 1258.

Pietro Caetani was Bishop of Todi in the period 1252-76.  In 1260, his nephew Benedetto (the future Pope Boniface VIII) became a canon of the Duomo and Prior of Sant’ Illuminata outside Todi (near Massa Martana).

Pandolfo Savelli, who acted as Podestà in 1267, 1273 and 1286, was effective in quelling the civil strife in the city.

Todi had two Franciscan bishops from the Bentivenga family of Acquasparta: Bentivenga Bentivenga (1276-8) and Angelario Bentivenga (1278-82).  The former was made a cardinal in 1278, just before his death.  He was buried in San Fortunato.

Matthew of Acquasparta, one of his kinsmen, become a Franciscan at San Fortunato in 1254.    He became the Minister General of the Franciscans in 1287-9 and was made a cardinal in 1288.  He was later a prominent supporter of Pope Boniface VIII (see below).

St Philip Benizi, General of the Servites, died in Todi in 1285.

In 1293, Todi appealed to Perugia to settle her internal strife.  She also requested help against Amelia, which had managed to free itself from the subjugation to Todi.

14th century

Pope Boniface VIII appointed Teobaldo Pontano da Todi as Bishop of Assisi, the post he occupied in the period 1296-1329.  Bishop Pontano, who was a Franciscan, on the orders of Boniface VIII, forced through the transfer of San Fortunato, Todi from the Vallombrosians to the Franciscans in 1296. 

The relics of SS Fortunatus, Cassian and Callistus were discovered in San Fortunato in 1296, when the Franciscans demolished part of the old church in order to build the new apse.  Pope Boniface VIII consented to their translation to the sacristy in 1297.  In 1301, Bishop Nicolò Armati translated the relics of two female saints to San Fortunato:

  1. St Romana, from Monte Soratte: and

  2. St Digna, from San Faustino.

Later in 1301, Boniface VIII granted indulgences to those attending the subsequent translation of these relics to the new high altar.

In 1301, Boniface VIII mediated between Orvieto and Todi, leading to an alliance between them that ended their longstanding hostility.

[Privileges that had been granted by Boniface VIII]

[Blessed Jacopone da Todi]

Todi, which had traditionally been a strong Perugian ally, seems to have been taken by a Ghibelline faction in ca. 1300.  Tension became evident in 1303, when an army from Todi laid siege to Massa Martana, a town was on the border of the spheres of influence between Todi and Perugia.  The Perugians duly broke the siege, and were forced to do so again on a number of occasions in 1304-5.  The Ghibelline Corrado di Anastasio degli Anastasi, whom the Perugians had driven from Foligno, established a base in Todi.  Somewhat surprisingly, he enjoyed the support of the Rector of the Duchy of Spoleto, Pietro Oliva.

The Perugians also informed the legates Guillaume Durand (Guglielmo Duranti) and Pilfort de Rabastens, Abbot of Lombez of their intention of declaring war on Todi, in the face of papal disapproval.  With the help of allies from Spoleto and Foligno, Perugia took the fortress of Collepepe after a siege in 1306 but was subsequently obliged to defend Marsciano from an attack by Todi.  The factions of Todi were reconciled at the end of 1306, and Todi and Perugia agreed a somewhat tenuous peace.

Henry VII in Italy (1308-13)

In 1308, Todi joined the Ghibelline rebellion during the descent into Italy of Henry of Luxembourg (the Emperor Henry VII).

Ghibellines from Todi helped Corrado di Anastasio to attack Foligno in 1308, and also helped the Ghibellines of Spoleto to expel the Guelfs in 1310.  The Perugians, the only major Umbrian city that stayed loyal to the papacy, ravaged the contado of Todi in 1310- 1.

A plaque on the bridge over the Tiber at Montemolino, in the contado of Todi recounts the terrible battle that occurred there in September 1310, when the Gentile Orsini, the captain of the Perugian army, smashed a Ghibelline force from Todi and Spoleto led by Bindo dei Baschi.  Pietro Oliva, the Rector of the Duchy of Spoleto (who, as noted above, supported the Ghibellines) was killed in this engagement.  The Perugians ravaged the contado of Spoleto  They  routed the Spoletans in 1312, killing Abrunamonte da Chiavano.  The theatre of war then moved back to the contado of Todi, although neither side gained further obvious advantage. 

Henry of Luxembourg arrived outside Rome in April 1312. 

  1. John of Gravina, the brother of King Robert of Naples, and the Roman Guelfs held the city against him, aided by troops from the Guelf League (including 150 cavalry from Perugia). 

  2. Todi, Amelia, Narni and Spoleto sent levies to reinforce the imperial army.

Henry of Luxembourg smashed his way into the city but was unable to reach St Peter’s because the Guelfs held the Castello di Sant’ Angelo.  His troops suffered a disastrous defeat in the streets of the city, and many, including the Umbrian levies, subsequently deserted.  However, the Guelfs were unable to press home their advantage, and the Ghibelline mob forced the reluctant cardinals to carry out the coronation in the ruins of San Giovanni Laterano. 

Henry VII then marched from Rome to Todi (August 1312).  He raised troops from Todi and Spoleto with which to devastate the contado of Perugia.   After six days, he marched into Tuscany to besiege Florence, leaving the troops from Spoleto and Todi to continue the work.

In 1313, Bindo da Baschi of Todi led reinforcements to the assistance of Ghibelline Filippeschi in the civil war in Orvieto.  Perugia marched to the aid of the Guelf Monaldeschi, and Bindo da Baschi was killed in the subsequent fighting from which the Guelfs emerged victorious. 

Henry VII died just days later in a town some 40 miles to the north.  This had a dramatic effect on the morale of the Ghibellines of Spoleto and Todi.  The opposing factions from Spoleto were reconciled in a ceremony at the foot of the campanile of San Lorenzo in Perugia in April 1314, while the factions of Todi were reconciled in August under the auspices of Perugia.

Ghibelline Revolt in Umbria

Bishop Pontano, who fled from fled from Assisi when the Ghibelline Muzio di Francesco seized it in 1319, took refuge in San Fortunato, Todi.  He probably commissioned the Cappella di San Franceso there.

[Todi, Narni and Rieti rebelled against the Rector of the Patrimony, Bishop Guido Farnese in 1322.]

Todi gave refuge to Muzio di Francesco when he was driven from Assisi in August 1321.  Bishop Pontano initiated an inquisitorial process against him in May 1322, and he faced the inquisition at San Fortunato Todi in June 1322.  Todi ignored a subsequent order from Pope John XXII that it should surrender Muzio di Francesco to the rector of the Duchy of Spoleto.  The inquisitors took some 90 depositions and compiled their report in August 1322.  Muzio di Francesco repaid 1,000 gold florins to Napoleone Orsini in 1323 (money that he had extorted in 1320 - see above).  He left Todi for Arezzo in ca. 1326. 

[Todi expelled Bishop Rainuccio degli Atti from the city in 1326.  Bishop Teobaldo Pontano of Assisi is documented as donating an altar dossal to San Fortunato in 1327.]

Louis IV in Italy (1327-30)

In 1322, John XXII refused to confirm the election of Louis of Bavaria as the future Emperor Louis IV.  John XXII excommunicated Louis of Bavaria in 1324,  prompting Louis of Bavaria to accused John XXII of heresy and appealed for the adjudication of the dispute by a general council. 

In 1327, Louis of Bavaria entered Italy, intent upon coronation in Rome, heightening the tension between Guelfs and Ghibellines.  He was largely unopposed as he followed the route that Henry VII had taken to Rome.  In Umbria, Narni, Todi and Amelia openly openly declared their support for him.  The Romans invited him into the city and the Ghibelline Cardinal Sciarra Colonna duly crowned him (January 1328). 

Todi refused to accept the authority of the papal rector in 1328 and sided openly with the rebellious Franciscan, Michael of Cesena.  The city resolutely refused on pain of interdict to expel the Podestà, Borgaruccio da Matelica.

Louis IV raised concerns even among his own supporters when he created a Franciscan, Peter of Corbara as the anti-Pope Nicholas V (May 1328).  John XXII declared a crusade against them, and Louis IV was forced to withdraw from Rome (August 1328).  When the welcome promised by the Filippeschi family at Orvieto was not forthcoming, he availed himself of the of the Chiaravallesi at Todi. 

Louis IV, together with his wife and the anti-pope Nicholas V made a triumphal entry into Todi.  Prominent Ghibelline nobles including the Baschi, Marsciani and Chiaravallesi led their horses.  The friars of San Fortunato joined in the welcome, and Nicholas V installed himself in their convent.   Nicholas V preached against John XXII from the Duomo.

His army ravaged the contadi of Bevagna and Foligno.  He finally left Todi at the end of August, leaving the city despoiled and violated.

[ Louis IV designated Ranieri Atti as imperial vicar of Todi.]

Louis IV failed to establish a solid base in Italy, and returned to Germany in 1330, leaving only increased confusion in his wake.

In 1340, papal forces from Montefiascone liberated Amelia from occupying forces from Todi.

Papal Reconquest of Central Italy (1353-78)

[Cardinal Francesco degli Atti, who was born at Todi, was elected bishop of Corfu in 1348, but translated to Chiusi the same year. There he composed his only known canonical treatise, dealing with his, the episcopal share of the tithes. He later transferred to Cassino (1353) and Florence (1355). In 1357, he finally moved to the papal court at Avignon, after Innocent VI had made him cardinal. He died in 1361.]

In 1352, the Chiaravallesi and Giovanni di Vico, the Ghibelline Lord of Viterbo tried unsuccessfully to take power in Todi.  They returned to the attack in 1353 using the mercenaries of Fra Moriale, but again the Guelfs, aided by Perugia and encouraged by the papal legate, Cardinal Gil Albornoz, held firm. 

In 1356, Pope Innocent VI sought the aid of Perugia in repelling another Ghibelline attack on Todi, despite their strained relations.  Andrea degli Atti was installed as papal vicar, and he succeeded in restoring ecclesiastical control. [Lifting of the interdict??]

In 1367, during the short stay in Italy of Pope Urban V, Cardinal Albornoz began the process of  reasserting direct papal control of Todi, despite the intercession of Florence on behalf of Todi.  He took over the Convento di Santa Maria di Montesanto from the Poor Clares and used the site to build a fortress.  However, he died on 23rd August 1367.

Cardinal Anglic de Grimoard, the younger brother of Urban V and papal vicar in Italy from March 1368, completed the subjugation of Todi, and punished the rebellious city by abrogating the privileges that had been granted by Boniface VIII and reducing its contado.   In April 1371, the papal legate Cardinal Pierre d' Estaing, began the construction of a new fortress at the expense of the Commune: this required the demolition of the Abbazia di San Leucio in 1373.  The fortress was destroyed in 1382.

15th century

Todi began a period of slow decline from the beginning of the 15th century.

The Guelph Atti family feuded with the Ghibelline Chiaravalle.

The people tore down the Rocca in 1382.

In 1391, Pope Boniface IX (1389-1404) gave Todi to Malatesta di Pandolfo, the son of Pandolfo III di Malatesta, Lord of Pesaro for 10 years, but soon regretted his decision and excommunicated Pandolfo.

In 1392, Boniface IX gave the territory of Montecastello, Acquasparta and Sismano to Catalano degli Atti, in order to establish an opposing force.  Malatesta di Pandolfo captured and imprisoned Catalano and his son Francesco I degli Atti, and held them in the in the fortress of Orte.  The Florentines pressed for their release, but to no avail.  When Catalano’s wife allowed Biordo Michelotti of Perugia to use the castle of Sismano against Malatesta di Pandolfo, he retaliated by beheading Catalano.  Francesco I remained a prisoner until 1395.

The Chiaravalle helped Biordo Michelotti to take Todi from Malatesta di Pandolfo in 1395.

Francesco I degli Atti was Podestà of Foligno in 1402.

[Bishop Guglielmo Dallavigna (1405) tried to induce the antipope Benedict XIII to renounce his claim.]

Braccio Fortebracci captured Todi for King Ladislas of Naples in 1408.  The Atti family again established itself as the ruling family only after 1409.  Ladislas of Naples sacked Todi in 1414.

Braccio Fortebraccio rebuilt the Rocca in 1423

In 1424, Pope Martin V sent Luca Monaldeschi of Orvieto to receive the subjection of Todi.  He then attacked Matteo and Ulisse Chiaravalle at the Castello di Lugnano, using soldiers from Orvieto and Todi. 

[Francesco Sforza (1434-42)]

[Bishop Bartolomeo Aglioni (1436) was imprisoned during the troublesome times.]

In 1441, Pope Eugenius IV gave the castle at Montecchio to Giacomo and Andrea I degli Atti, nephews of Catalano.

Pope Pius II (1458-64) persuaded the Chiaravalle to make peace, but both sides continued to ravage the contado.  In 1462, he imprisoned Ulisse Chiaravalle at Amelia, prompting Ulisse’s son Matteo to sack nearby Collicello and to take the Castello di Sismano.

Pope Paul II (1464-71) strengthened the Rocca in 1464 and again in 1471.  He exiled Guglielmo, Matteo and Piergiovanni Chiaravalle, and he ordered the Governor of Narni to confiscate their castles and sell them to the communes of Todi and Amelia.

In 1472, Pope Sixtus IV sent troops from Amelia under Bartolomeo d’ Alviano to attack the Chiaravalle faction.

Submission to the Church

In 1474, Gabriele degli Atti, Lord of Todi was murdered in Rome, and the Ghibelline Piergiovanni Chiaravalle was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the crime.  This provoked civil war between the Ghibellines, led by Piergiovanni's brother Matteo Chiaravalle and the Guelfs led by members of Orsini family.  Sixtus IV sent his nephew Giuliano della Rovere (the future Pope Julius II) to impose order.  An army under Giordano Orsini controlled the city as della Rovere approached, but he managed to expel them and install a papal vicar.  He ordered the return of the Ghibelline exiles, with the exception of the Chiaravalle family.

In 1477, Matteo Chiaravalle and the Genoese Domenico Doria were imprisoned in the Castel Sant’ Angelo, accused of taking part in a conspiracy that Giuliano della Rovere had instigated against his hated cousin, Girolamo Riario.

Girolamo Riario controlled the Rocca in 1484, when his uncle, Sixtus IV died, but the new Pope Innocent VIII forced him to relinquish it.

In 1486, the Altobello and Vittorio Chiaravalle entered Todi and murdered the octagenarian Andrea II degli Atti.  They then took refuge in the Rocca.  Innocent VIII sent Bartolomeo d’ Alviano, who expelled Altobello and Vittorio and was appointed papal governor.  He remained in the city for about a year, during which time he rebuilt the Rocca.

Bartolomeo d’ Alviano (died1515)

Bartolomeo was born in Todi, the son of Francesco d’ Alviano and Isabella degli Atti.  He was a page at the court of Virgino Orsini di Bracciano in 1455 and subsequently became a condottiere.  He served the Church in 1469, 1472, 1482 and 1486, the King of Naples in 1478, 1481, 1494 and 1495, Florence in 1491 and Venice from 1498.  He was appointed as Papal Governor and castellan of Todi in 1487-8.  He married Bartolomea, the daughter of Napoleone Orsini of Bracciano, and then Pentesilea Baglioni, the sister of Gianpaolo Baglioni, Lord of Perugia.

In 1494, Gian Paolo and Astore Baglioni went to the aid of Lodovico and Giovanni degli Atti when a contingent of French soldiers and the Chiaravalle menaced Todi.  The Atti hanged Onofrio di Matteo Chiaravalle at Sismano, but they quarrelled with the Baglioni when the latter refused to hand Etorre Chairavalle over to them after they had taken him prisoner. 

In 1495, Bartolomeo d’ Alviano was sent back to Todi to expel the Chiaravalle yet again.

In 1497, Altobello Chiaravalle entered Todi and destroyed houses of the Atti, killing the inhabitants.  He was then driven from Todi after an outbreak of bloody civil strife.  He and his soldiers escaped to Montecchio, where Bartolomeo d'Alviano, the leader of the forces of Pope Alexander VI attacked them.  Montecchio fell, but Altobello escaped.   D’ Alviano entered Todi and stormed San Fortunato, where a number of Ghibellines had taken refuge.  He also set fire to the Borgo Ulpiano, another Ghibelline refuge.  He then marched towards Terni, but was called back to Rome because he was a suspect in the murder of the Duke of Gandia.

The truce between the Atti and the Chiaravalle was celebrated in 1496 in the church of Sant’ Angelo in the Castello di Montemolino (the site of the famous battle of 1310 - see above).

16th Century

Despite the truce, Altobello and Girolamo Chiaravalle continued to ravage the contado of Todi.  In 1500, Cesare Borgia mounted a concerted operation to put an end to their bloodthirsty activities.  The Charavallesi found refuge at Acquasparta, where Borgia’s mercenary captains (Vittellozzo Vitelli, Gian Paolo Baglione, Paolo Orsini and Bartolomeo d’ Alviano) besieged them.   The fortress fell, and Girolamo Chiaravalle and many of the Ghibelline allies from Todi, Terni and Narni were beheaded.  Altobello initially escaped, but he was captured and torn to pieces.  The fortress at Acquasparta was completely destroyed, along with the power of the Chiaravalle.

In 1503, on hearing of the death of Alexander VI, Bartolomeo d’ Alviano first helped Gianpaolo Baglioni to retake Perugia and they then both came to the aid of Lodovico degli Atti in retaking Todi.  The Chiaravallesi held the Rocca, which Lodovico destroyed.

The medieval walls were restored in 1517.

In 1519, Lodovico degli Atti, general of the papal army, was given the Castle of Casigliano as a reward for his services.

Todi's decline continued into the 16th century, reaching a low point in 1523 when more than half of its population died in an outbreak of plague.

By this time, however, the Atti faced competition for the hegemony of Todi from the Cesi family.  Matters came to a head in 1553 when Angelo Atti and Pietro Cesi began a fierce dispute over the building of Palazzo Cesi next to Palazzo Atti in the Piazza.  Matters became so heated that Pietro Cesi murdered Angelo Atti and other members of his family after a banquet at Casigliano.  The fortunes of the Atti family subsequently declined, and they sold Palazzo Atti (later Palazzo Carosi Martinozzi) and other properties to the Florentine Bartolomeo Corsini in 1607.

Cesi Family

The Cesi family provided the bishops of Todi for an uninterrupted period from 1523 to 1606.

  1. Bishops Paolo Emilio Cesi (1523-34) and Federico Cesi (1534-45) spent little time in the diocese since they were caught up in the Curia in Rome.

  2. Bishop Giovanni Andrea Cesi (1545-66) was Federico’s nephew.

  3. Bishop Angelo Cesi (1566-1606), Giovanni Andrea’s nephew, was to leave a lasting mark on the city.  He imposed the discipline required by the Council of Trent and undertook an extensive programme of urban development.  He also attracted important artists to Todi from Rome. He constructed Via Cesia, extended the Servite’s church of San Filippo Benizi, built the Palazzo Vescovile and the Tempio del Santissimo Crocifisso.  [San Carlo, Capuchins ???]

[Santa Maria della Consolazione]

17th and 18th Centuries

Cardinal Bishop Marcello Lante delle Rovere (1606-25) established the diocesan seminary in 1608.

Todi was devastated by an outbreak of plague in 1630.

Later bishops: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Altieri (1638-43), brother of Pope Clement X, was a famous canonist; Cardinal Filippo Antonio Gualterio (1709-14) and his brother, Ludovico Anselmo Gualterio (1715-46) erected a new seminary; and Francesco Maria Pasini (1760-73) completed the restoration of the Duomo.


Giuseppe Garibaldi passed through Todi during the retreat of 1849.  His heavily pregnant wife, Anita left her silver saddle behind and continued using a more comfortable one that the saddler Branzini made for her.

The result of the plebiscite of 20th September 1860 was read out from the pulpit in the Piazza.

On the 24th July 1796, in the Oratorio della Madonna del Campione, the celebrated image of the Madonna was seen to close her eyes, provoking a wave of veneration for the image and its cult.  In 1890, Bishop Giulio Boschi (1888-95) moved the image to the church of San Bonaventura.

History of Todi: Main Page     Ancient History

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