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Honorary citizenship of Faenza, granted to Ferdinando, Paolo Giordano, Virginio and Francesco Orsini and their heirs, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Faenza, 1621
Honorary citizenship of Faenza, granted to Ferdinando, Paolo Giordano, Virginio and Francesco Orsini and their heirs, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Faenza, 1621
Honorary citizenship of Faenza, granted to Ferdinando, Paolo Giordano, Virginio and Francesco Orsini and their heirs, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Faenza, 1621
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Honorary citizenship of Faenza, granted to Ferdinando, Paolo Giordano, Virginio and Francesco Orsini and their heirs, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Faenza, 1621

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Honorary citizenship of Faenza, granted to Ferdinando, Paolo Giordano, Virginio and Francesco Orsini and their heirs, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Faenza, 1621
A handsome grant of citizenship in a contemporary red morocco binding made for four members of the Orsini, one of the most influential princely families in Renaissance Italy.

220 x 182mm. i (paper) + 8 + i (paper) leaves, complete. 15 lines of text, headings and names in gold or silver, each text page framed in red and gold, the text tracing the history of the city of Faenza via Maghinardo Pagani of Susinana (d.1302) and its links to the Orsini family, witnessed and notarised (minor marginal thumbing and staining). Contemporary red morocco binding gilt-tooled with the Orsini arms: bendy gules and argent on a chief of the second a rose of the first, inscribed 'Cittadinanza di Faenza' (remnants of yellow and red silk ties, light scuffing to edges).

Provenance: The grant is for four of the six sons of Virginio Orsini (1572-1615), of the Bracciano branch of the illustrious Orsini family, at a time when the family's fortunes were beginning to turn. Paolo Giordano, 2nd Duke of Bracciano (1591-1656), was Virginio's eldest son. In 1622 he married princess Isabella Appiani and became prince of Piombino and in 1625 he became Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, but by the end of the decade his financial and political fortunes had turned significantly, in no small part due to his extravagant expenditure (summed up in a contemporary letter from the ambassador Francesco Mantovano to Francesco I d'Este: 'consumando all'ingrosso vuol distruggere quanto ci è prima di morire [...]'). Ferdinando, Virginio's second son, married Giustiniana Orsini of the San Gemini branch in 1610, and in so doing united two prominent branches of the Orsini family. On his brother's death, he became 3rd Duke of Bracciano, but, according to contemporary reports, he spent his entire life attempting to pay back debts. Francesco spent his youth as page-boy to the King of Spain. In 1622 he became abbot of Farfa, and after his brother Alessandro's death in 1627 he renounced his abbacy in the hope that the Pope might grant it to his nephew. Urban VIII handed the abbey to his own nephew Cardinal Francesco Barberini instead, leaving Francesco Orsini in abject poverty. He became a Jesuit and died in 1667. Virginio (1600-1667), the youngest, joined the Discalced Carmelites of Santa Maria della Scala: little documentation on him survives. A second grant of citizenship for the city of Ravenna survives for these brothers, dated 1623, similarly bound in red morocco (for more on the brothers see E. Mori, L'Archivio Orsini, 2016, esp. pp.74-82).
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