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Malatesta(mälätĕ`stä), Italian family, ruling RiminiRimini
, anc. Ariminum, city (1991 pop. 127,960), in Emilia-Romagna, N central Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. It is a highly diversified industrial, commercial, and railroad center and a fashionable beach resort. Tourism is extremely important.
..... Click the link for more information. and nearby cities for almost 300 years from the 13th to 16th cent. Malatesta da Verucchio (d. 1312), a powerful Guelph leader, became (1239) podestà, or chief magistrate, of Rimini and used this position to entrench his family's position in the area. His hunchback son Gianciotto was married to Francesca da RiminiFrancesca da Rimini
, fl. 13th cent., Italian beauty, daughter of Guido da Polenta of Ravenna. She was married by proxy to the hunchbacked lord of Rimini, Gianciotto Malatesta; the proxy, Gianciotto's young and handsome brother Paolo, became Francesca's lover.
..... Click the link for more information. . With the expulsion of the family's Ghibelline rivals in 1295 the Malatesta rule in Rimini became well established, but papal investiture was made only in the following century. Branches of the family came to rule also Pesaro, Cesena, and Fano. In the 14th and 15th cent. several members of the family were noted condottiericondottiere
[Ital.,=leader], leader of mercenary soldiers in Italy in the 14th and 15th cent., when wars were almost incessant there. The condottieri hired and paid the bands who fought under them.
..... Click the link for more information. in the service of various Italian states. The most famous was Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417–68), a typical lord of the Italian Renaissance. A patron of arts and letters, he had the church of San Francesco in Rimini transformed into the Tempio Malatestiano [the temple of the Malatesta]. A despot excommunicated for numerous crimes, he engaged in a bitter conflict with the papacy over territorial claims, but he finally lost (1463) all his possessions except Rimini. His brother Novello, lord of Cesena, built there the fine Malatesta library. Sigismondo's son and grandson held the little state with difficulty, eventually losing it in 1500 to Cesare Borgia. Although the Malatesta family returned for brief intervals in the early 16th cent., Rimini passed definitively to the Holy See in 1528.
an Italian feudal family that from the late 13th to the early 16th centuries ruled in Rimini and extended its domination over part of Romagna and over Ancona of the Marches. The fierce struggle for power within the Malatesta family was accompanied by many perfidious assassinations; the tragic story of Francesca, the wife of one Malatesta in the early 14th century, has been immortalized by Dante in the Divine Comedy.
The most famous of the Malatestas, Sigismondo Pandolfo I (1417-68), surrounded himself with philosophers and scholars and collected a marvelous library. He also fought in many wars and served successively as condottiere of the pope, the rulers of Florence, and Alfonso of Aragon; in these wars he lost most of his possessions and entered the service of Venice. The Malatestas lost Rimini once and for all in 1528.