Sites & cities that bear the name of Canossa


Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : ca. 10th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Cilianum, Ciano d'Enza, Canòsa

Description : Canossa (Reggiano: Canòsa) is a comune and castle town in the Province of Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. It is the site where Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV did penance in 1077, standing three days bare-headed in the snow, in order to reverse his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII. The Walk to Canossa is sometimes used as a symbol of the changing relationship between the medieval Church and State. Canossa Castle was built before the middle of the 10th century by Adalbert Atto, son of Sigifred of Lucca. Adelaide of Italy, in the 10th century the daughter, daughter-in-law, and widow in turn of three kings, was hard pressed by a local nobleman, Berengar of Ivrea, who declared himself king of Italy, abducted Adelaide, and tried to legitimize his reign by forcing Adelaide to marry his son Adalbert; but she escaped to Canossa. From the rocca of Canossa she called for German intervention. Canossa was inherited by Matilda of Tuscany, the principal Italian supporter of Pope Gregory VII, in 1052. Matilda invited Pope Gregory VII to take refuge in Canossa Castle in 1076/77 during the dispute with Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor. In the end their joint fears proved groundless when Henry appeared in the guise of a penitent and begged for forgiveness and reinstatement in the church. After three days of waiting at the castle gates, Henry was admitted and forgiven. Matilda died in 1115 in Mantuan territory. The fortress was destroyed by invaders from Reggio Emilia in 1256. The church of San Apollonio, within the castle walls and contemporary with the castle, was also destroyed. Only the christening font remains, preserved in the Naborre Campanini national museum next to the remains of the wall. Perched on top of the white cliffs of the Apennines, the castle is a ruin today. More than 30,000 tourists come here each year, especially from Germany. The nearby Tempietto del Petrarca, Canossa celebrates the refuge of Petrarch offered here by a local warlord.

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