Asti is a city and comune of 76,164 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River. It is the capital of the province of Asti and it is deemed to be the modern capital of Monferrato. People have lived around what is now Asti since the Neolithic period. Before their defeat in 174 BC by the Romans, tribes of Ligures, the Statielli, dominated the area and the toponym derives from Ast which means "hill" in the ancient Celtic language. In 124 BC the Romans built a castrum, or fortified camp, which evolved into a full city named Hasta. In 89 BC the city received the status of colonia, in 49 BC that of municipium. Asti become an important city of the Augustan Regio IX, favoured by its strategic position on the Tanaro river and on the Via Fulvia, which linked Derthona to Augusta Taurinorum. Other roads connected the city to the main passes for what are today France; the city was crucial during the early stages of the barbarian invasions which stormed Italy during the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
In early 402 AD the Visigoths had invaded northern Italy and were advancing on Mediolanum, the imperial capital at that time. Honorius, the young emperor and a resident in that city, unable to wait for promised reinforcements any longer, was compelled to flee from Milan for safety in the city of Arles in Gaul. However, just after his convoy had left Milan and crossed the River Po his escape route through the Alps was cut off by the Gothic cavalry; this forced him to take emergency refuge in the city of Hasta until more Roman troops could be assembled in Italy. The Goths placed Hasta under siege until March when General Stilicho, bringing reinforcements from the Rhine and defeated them at the Battle of Pollentia. After this first victorious defence, thanks to a massive line of walls, Hasta suffered from the barbarian invasions which stormed Italy after the fall of the Western Empire, declined economically. In the second half of the 6th century it was chosen as seat for one of the 36 Duchies in which the Lombards divided Italy.
The territory of Asti comprised a wide area, stretching out to the Maritime Alps. This remained when northern Italy was conquered by the Franks with the title of County. In the late Carolingian age Asti was ruled directly by his bishops, who were the main landlords of the area. Most important are Audax and Bruningus, who moved the episcopal seat to the Castel Vecchio, where it remained until 1409; the bishopric of Asti remained a powerful entity well into the 11th century, when Pietro II received huge privileges by emperor Henry II. In the second half of the century, Bishop Otto tried to resist the aims of the powerful countess Adelaide of Susa, who damaged the city several times. During Otto's reign, a commune and the consul magistrates are mentioned for the first time and make this City-State the first republic of Europe. Asti was one of the first free communes of Italy, in 1140 received the right to mint coins of its own by Conrad II; as the commune, had begun to erode the lands of the bishop and other local faudataries, the latter sued for help to Frederick Barbarossa, who presented under the city walls with a huge army in February 1155.
After a short siege, Asti was burnt. Subsequently, Asti adhered to the Lombard League against the German emperor, but was again defeated in 1174. Despite this, after the Peace of Constance, the city gained further privileges; the 13th century saw the peak of the Astigiani economic and cultural splendour, only momentarily hindered by wars against Alba, Savoy and the Marquesses of Montferrat and Saluzzo. In particular, the commune aimed to gain control over the lucrative trade routes leading northwards from the Ligurian ports. In this period, the rise of the Casane Astigiane resulted in contrasting political familial alliances of Guelph and Ghibelline supporters. During the wars led by Emperor Frederick II in northern Italy, the city chose his side: Asti was defeated by the Guelphs of Alessandria at Quattordio and Clamandrana, but thanks to Genoese help, it recovered easily. After Frederick's death, the struggle against Thomas II of Savoy became fierce: the Astigiani defeated him on February 23, 1255, at the Battle of Montebruno, but Thomas replied ordering all traders from Asti to be arrested in Savoy and France.
This move showed worry on the part of Asti's neighbouring states over the excessive power gained by the city, which had captured Alba and controlled both Chieri and Turin. This state of affairs led to the intervention of Charles I of Anjou King of Naples and the most powerful man in Italy. After some guerrilla actions, Asti signed a pact of alliance with Pavia and William VII of Montferrat. In 1274 the Astigiani troops were defeated at the Battle of Cassano, but, on December 12, 1275, were victorious over the Angevins at the Battle of Roccavione, ending Charles' attempt to expand in Piedmont. In the 1290s, after William VII had been defeated, Asti was the most powerful city in Piedmont. However, internal struggles for the control of trading and banking enterprises soon divided the city into factions; the most prominent faction were the powerful bankers of the Solari family, who, in 1314, gave the city to king Robert of Naples. The free Republic of Asti ceased to exist. In 1339 the Ghibelline exiles recaptured the city, expelling their allies.
In 1342 however, the menace of the Solari counteroffensive led the new rulers to submit to Luchin
Parma is a city in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its architecture, art, prosciutto and surrounding countryside. It is home to the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world. Parma is divided into two parts by the stream of the same name; the district on the far side of the river is Oltretorrente. Parma's Etruscan name was adapted by Romans to describe the round shield called Parma; the Italian poet Attilio Bertolucci wrote: "As a capital city it had to have a river. As a little capital it received a stream, dry". Parma was a built-up area in the Bronze Age. In the current position of the city rose a terramare; the "terramare" were ancient villages built of wood on piles according to a defined scheme and squared form. During this age the first necropolis were constructed; the city was most founded and named by the Etruscans, for a parma was a Latin borrowing, as were many Roman terms for particular arms, Parmeal and Parmnial are names that appear in Etruscan inscriptions.
Diodorus Siculus reported that the Romans had changed their rectangular shields for round ones, imitating the Etruscans. Whether the Etruscan encampment was so named because it was round, like a shield, or whether its situation was a shield against the Gauls to the north, is uncertain; the Roman colony was founded in 183 BC, together with Mutina. Parma had a certain importance as a road hub over the Via Claudia, it had a forum, in. In 44 BC, the city was destroyed, Augustus rebuilt it. During the Roman Empire, it gained the title of Julia for its loyalty to the imperial house; the city was subsequently sacked by Attila, given by the Germanic king Odoacer to his followers. During the Gothic War, Totila destroyed it, it was part of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna and, from 569, of the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. During the Middle Ages, Parma became an important stage of the Via Francigena, the main road connecting Rome to Northern Europe. Under Frankish rule, Parma became the capital of a county. Like most northern Italian cities, it was nominally a part of the Holy Roman Empire created by Charlemagne, but locally ruled by its bishops, the first being Guibodus.
In the subsequent struggles between the Papacy and the Empire, Parma was a member of the Imperial party. Two of its bishops became antipopes: Càdalo, founder of the cathedral, as Honorius II. An independent commune was created around 1140. After the Peace of Constance confirmed the Italian communes' rights of self-governance, long-standing quarrels with the neighbouring communes of Reggio Emilia and Cremona became harsher, with the aim of controlling the vital trading line over the Po River; the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines was a feature of Parma too. In 1213, her podestà was the Guelph Rambertino Buvalelli. After a long stance alongside the emperors, the Papist families of the city gained control in 1248; the city was besieged in 1247–48 by Emperor Frederick II, however crushed in the battle that ensued. Parma fell under the control of Milan in 1341. After a short-lived period of independence under the Terzi family, the Sforza imposed their rule through their associated families of Pallavicino, Sanvitale and Da Correggio.
These created a kind of new feudalism, building castles throughout the city and the land. These fiefs evolved into independent states: the Landi governed the higher Taro's valley from 1257 to 1682; the Pallavicino seignory extended over the eastern part of today's province, with the capital in Busseto. Parma's territories were an exception for Northern Italy, as its feudal subdivision continued until more recent years. For example, Solignano was a Pallavicino family possession until 1805, San Secondo belonged to the Rossi well into the 19th century. Between the 14th and the 15th centuries, Parma was at the centre of the Italian Wars; the Battle of Fornovo was fought in its territory. The French held the city in 1500–1521, with a short Papal parenthesis in 1512–1515. After the foreigners were expelled, Parma belonged to the Papal States until 1545. In that year the Farnese pope, Paul III, detached Parma and Piacenza from the Papal States and gave them as a duchy to his illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, whose descendants ruled in Parma until 1731, when Antonio Farnese, last male of the Farnese line, died.
In 1594 a constitution was promulgated, the University enhanced and the Nobles' College founded. The war to reduce the barons' power continued for several years: in 1612 Barbara Sanseverino was executed in the central square of Parma, together with six other nobles charged of plotting against the duke. At the end of the 17th century, after the defeat of Pallavicini and Landi the Farnese duke could hold with firm hand all Parmense territor
Berengar I of Italy
Berengar I was the King of Italy from 887. He became Holy Roman Emperor after 915, until his death in 924, he is known as Berengar of Friuli, since he ruled the March of Friuli from 874 until at least 890, but he had lost control of the region by 896. Berengar rose to become one of the most influential laymen in the empire of Charles the Fat, he was elected to replace Charles in Italy after the latter's deposition in November 887, his long reign of 36 years saw him opposed by no less than seven other claimants to the Italian throne. His reign is characterised as "troubled" because of the many competitors for the crown and because of the arrival of Magyar raiders in Western Europe, he was the last emperor after a 38-year interregnum. His family was called the Unruochings after his grandfather, Unruoch II. Berengar was a son of Eberhard of Friuli and Gisela, daughter of Louis the Pious and his second wife Judith, he was thus of Carolingian extraction on his mother's side. He was born at Cividale. Sometime during his margraviate, he married Bertilla, daughter of Suppo II, thus securing an alliance with the powerful Supponid family.
She would rule alongside him as a consors, a title denoting her informal power and influence, as opposed to a mere coniunx, "wife." When his older brother Unruoch III died in 874, Berengar succeeded him in the March of Friuli. With this he obtained a key position in the Carolingian Empire, as the march bordered the Croats and other Slavs who were a constant threat to the Italian peninsula, he was a territorial magnate with lordship over several counties in northeastern Italy. He was an important channel for the men of Friuli to get access to the emperor and for the emperor to exercise authority in Friuli, he had a large degree of influence on the church of Friuli. In 884 -- 885, Berengar intervened with the emperor on behalf of Bishop of Belluno. When, in 875, the Emperor Louis II, King of Italy, having come to terms with Louis the German whereby the German monarch's eldest son, would succeed in Italy, Charles the Bald of West Francia invaded the peninsula and had himself crowned king and emperor.
Louis the German sent first Charles the Fat, his youngest son, Carloman himself, with armies containing Italian magnates led by Berengar, to possess the Italian kingdom. This was not successful until the death of Charles the Bald in 877; the proximity of Berengar's march to Bavaria, which Carloman ruled under his father, may explain their cooperation. In 883, the newly succeeded Guy III of Spoleto was accused of treason at an imperial synod held at Nonantula late in May, he made an alliance with the Saracens. The emperor Charles the Fat, sent Berengar with an army to deprive him of Spoleto. Berengar was successful before an epidemic of disease, which ravaged all Italy, affecting the emperor and his entourage as well as Berengar's army, forced him to retire. In 886, Bishop of Vercelli, took Berengar's sister from the nunnery of San Salvatore at Brescia in order to marry her to a relative of his. Berengar and Liutward had a feud that year, which involved his attack on Vercelli and plundering of the bishop's goods.
Berengar's actions are explicable if his sister was abducted by the bishop, but if the bishop's actions were justified Berengar appears as the initiator of the feud. Whatever the case and margrave were reconciled shortly before Liutward was dismissed from court in 887. By his brief war with Liutward, Berengar had lost the favour of his cousin the emperor. Berengar came to the emperor's assembly at Waiblingen in early May 887, he made peace with the emperor and compensated for the actions of the previous year by dispensing great gifts. In June or July, Berengar was again at the emperor's side at Kirchen, when Louis of Provence was adopted as the emperor's son, it is sometimes alleged that Berengar was pining to be declared Charles' heir and that he may in fact have been so named in Italy, where he was acclaimed king after Charles' deposition by the nobles of East Francia in November that year. On the other hand, his presence may have been necessary to confirm Charles' illegitimate son Bernard as his heir, a plan which failed when the pope refused to attend, to confirm Louis instead.
Berengar was the only one of the reguli to crop up in the aftermath of Charles' deposition besides Arnulf of Carinthia, his deposer, made king before the emperor's death. Charter evidence begins Berengar's reign at Pavia between 26 December 887 and 2 January 888, though this has been disputed. Berengar was not the undisputed leading magnate in Italy at the time, but he may have made an agreement with his former rival, Guy of Spoleto, whereby Guy would have West Francia and he Italy on the emperor's death. Both Guy and Berengar were related to the Carolingians in the female line, they represented different factions in Italian politics: Berengar the pro-German and Guy the pro-French. In Summer 888, who had failed in his bid to take the West Frankish throne, returned to Italy to gather an army from among the Spoletans and Lombards and oppose Berengar; this he did, but the battle they fought near Brescia in the fall was a slight victory for Berengar, though his forces were so diminished that he sued for peace nevertheless.
The truce was to last until 6 January 889. After the truce with Guy was signed, Arnulf of Germany endeavoured to invade Italy through Friuli. Berengar, in order to prevent a war, sent dig