March of Ancona
Marca Anconitana
Flag of March of Ancona
The march in a map of 1564 by Vincenzo Luchino.
The march in a map of 1564 by Vincenzo Luchino.
StatusMarch of the Kingdom of Italy
Territory of the Papal States
(until 1210)
(1210–15th century)
(15th century–1798)
Roman Catholicism
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Spoleto
Republic of Ancona
Anconine Republic
Roman Republic (18th century)

The March of Ancona (Italian: Marca Anconitana or Anconetana) was a frontier march centred on the city of Ancona and later Fermo then Macerata in the Middle Ages.[1] Its name is preserved as an Italian region today, the Marche, and it corresponds to almost the entire modern region and not just the Province of Ancona.


Originally part of Imperial Italy, the march was constituted around 1100 from the March of Fermo and a southern portion of the Byzantine Pentapolis.[2] Initially the new march took the name of its first ruler: marca Guarnerii or march of Werner.[3] There were disputes between the Empire and the Church over rights and jurisdiction in the March. In 1173, an imperial army under Christian of Mainz invaded the March against pro-papal resistance led by Countess Boltruda Frangipani. In 1177, Pope Alexander III referred to it as "partly belonging to the empire but largely to the church".[4]

The march was definitely acquired by the Papal States during the pontificate of Innocent III in the year 1198. It was initially governed by a papal nominee called a rector. The rector of Ancona, like the rectors of other papal provinces, was under the authority of a general rector reporting directly to the pope. Under the papacy, the March had three towns of over 10,000 people: Ancona, Ascoli Piceno and Fermo.[5]

The province was reorganized by the Constitutiones Sanctæ Matris Ecclesiæ in 1357. The march followed the Adriatic as far north as Urbino and contained the cities of Loreto, Camerino, Fermo, Macerata, Osimo, San Severino, and Tolentino

According to Paul Sabatier's biography of St. Francis of Assisi, "The Road to Assisi", the March of Ancona became the home of the spiritual Franciscans after Francis' death.



House of Este

The line of "Marquesses of Este"("Marchesi d'Este") rises in 1039 with Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan. The name "Este" is related to the city where the family came from, Este. The family was founded by Adalbert the Margrave. who might have been the true first Margrave of Milan of this family. In 1209 Azzo VI is named the first "Marquess of Ferrara", and the title passed to his descendants, and Este Marquisate's was delegated to a cadet branch of the family. Later, were also created the Marquisates of Modena and Reggio.

Ruler Born Reign Death Consort Notes
Azzo VI c.1170 1209-1212 November 1212 Sofia Aldobrandini
two children

Sophia (Eleonora) of Savoy
before 1192
one child

Alix of Châtillon
22 February 1204
two children
Son of Azzo V. In 1209 was made the first Marquess of Ferrara.
Aldobrandino I c.1190 1212-1215 10 October 1215 Unknown
Before 1215
three children
Son of Azzo VI and Sofia
Azzo VII Novello c.1205 1212-1264 16 February 1264 Giovanna of Puglia
five children

Mabilia Pallavicini
no/two children
Son of Azzo VI and Alix
Obizzo II 1247 or 1252 1264-1293 20 January or 13 February[6] 1293 Jacopina (Fieschi) of Lavagna
three children

Constance (della Scala) of Verona
two children
Grandson of Azzo VII, as bastard son of Azzo's son, Rinaldo.
Azzo VIII After 1263 1293-1308 31 January 1308 Giovanna Orsini
September 1282
three children

Beatrice of Sicily
April 1305
no children
Son of Obizzo II.
Francesco I c. or after 1289 1293-1312 23 August 1312 Orsina Orsini
four children
Son of Obizzo II.
Aldobrandino II ? 1293-1326 26 July 1326 Alda Rangoni
four children
Co-ruled with his sons and nephews, following a pro-Este revolt in Ferrara.
Rinaldo ? 1326-1335 31 December 1335 Lucrezia di Barbiano
one child
Co-ruled with his brothers and cousins, following a pro-Este revolt in Ferrara.
Niccolò I ? 1326-1344 1 May 1344 Beatrice of Mantua
21 April 1335
no children
Co-ruled with his brothers and cousins, following a pro-Este revolt in Ferrara.
Obizzo III 14 July 1294 1326-1352 20 March 1352 Jacopa Pepoli
May 1317
no children

Filippa Ariosti
(lover until 1347)
27 November 1347
ten children
(legitimated 1347)
Co-ruled with his brothers and cousins, following a pro-Este revolt in Ferrara.

House of Sforza


  1. ^ Biondo Flavio (1559) Italy Illuminated, ed. Jeffrey A. White
  2. ^ Partner 1972, p. 141.
  3. ^ Calasso & Pivano 1934.
  4. ^ Partner 1972, pp. 209, 211.
  5. ^ Partner 1972, p. 433.
  6. ^ "Le site orienté voyance et généalogie".


  • Calasso, Francesco; Pivano, Silvio (1934). "Marca e marchesi". Enciclopedia Italiana. Vol. 22. Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana.
  • Partner, Peter (1972). The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. University of California Press.