The Famiy Brandolini

An ancient noble family, most probably from Brandenburguese origins, the Brandolini went down to Italy to fight alongside the Byzantines. They are later remembered for participating in the first Crusade (1096 – 1099 AD), an achievement after which the symbol of the black scorpions was added to the family crest.

The history of the Brandolini is intertwined with that of the castle in 1436 when the fortress and the annexed possessions are donated by the Republic of Venice to Brandolino IV and to his companion of arms Erasmo da Narni, named Gattamelata, for their courage in battle fields.

The famous Gattamelata, promoted to Captain General of the Serenissima army, then leaves the fortress to continue fighting, despite being almost seventy years old. Thus, Brandolino becomes the count of the castle and his family will own it for 523 years until 1959.

Besides him, other members of the family distinguished themselves as condottieri: from his son Tiberto to the frightening Gianconte Brandolini, who succeeded in the early years of the 16th century to seize several victories from Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg.
Among the family’s men of art, Antonio Maria Brandolini, Gianconte’s nephew stands out. He transformed what was once a medieval fortress into a sixteenth-century palace, building a majestic structure whose facade still represents one of the most beautiful views of CastelBrando.

Two centuries later, Guido VIII Brandolini instead thought of a theater that is now in the Renaissance wing of the castle, intended for dance parties and musical performances, but also used as a place of cultural and civil training for the subjects. He then entrusted the architect Ottavio Scotti with the creation of the imposing eighteenth-century portion.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Brandolini are instead remembered for having maintained an almost feudal regime with the peasants employed by them. According to the rules of sharecropping, peasants had to share part of their harvest with the powerful family, owner of all the possessions along the valley. Only in 1958 the land was put up for sale so that those who had cultivated it for a lifetime could take possession of it.
This is the reason why most legends handed down orally depict the counts as cruel and negative persons.

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