The Pallavicino family was one of the oldest feudal houses of the North of Italy and one of the most prosperous families of the old Orbentega line (with Malaspina and Estensi).
They had strong power in the area between Cremona, Parma and Piacenza, in a specific spot where they founded a state (namely, it was titled Pallavicino State which was including Busseto, Zibello, Cortemaggiore and so on). It kept its independency until the subjugation of the Farnese Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.
The dynasty of Cortemaggiore
The forefather was Giovan Lodovico, son of Rolando il Magnifico. He got the marquisate of Cortemaggiore with an area of Busseto, to which his son Rolando II added Fiorenzuola d’Arda. In 1479, through the important help of Maffeo del Carretto from Como, the architect of the Duke of Milan, he made a project and he built the new main city of the State.
Cortemaggiore, it’s still nowadays an example of the city built on the principles of the ‘ideal town’ laid down by Leon Battista Alberti.
The offspring of Pallavicino family from Cortemaggiore ended during the XVI century. Sforza Pallavicino was the last marquise of the entire Pallavicino state, which included Cortemaggiore and Busseto too; the area of Busseto was inherited after the death of his cousin, the marquise of Busseto.
Sforza, not having male sons, decided to choose as his heir Alessandro Pallavicino from Zibello. This fellow caused a long fight with Farnese family, who, after the death of Sforza in 1585, decided to take over, employing military forces, the entire Pallavicino State.
Of the long story of good and inspired government of the marquisate of Cortemaggiore state, from the “Additiones seu Reformationes”, applied by Rolando II in 1495 to the old Statuta Pallavicinia, set by Rolando il Magnifico, what remained, until the Napoleon epoch, was the “Corpo Comunicativo” of the town, a proper and good municipal council ante litteram.
The Pallavicino Palace
The Palace of residence of Pallavicino family was built by Rolando II and it represents the most important architectural example of the Renaissance in Cortemaggiore. It probably dated back to the last decade of the XV century.
The Palace of Cortemaggiore seems fortress from outside, with a curtain wall and a moat linked to the town. There are two towers faced to the countryside and a strong ravelin, protecting the entrance to the drawbridge.
The palace is composed by long main building (ground floor and first floor), placed from the north to the south, with two appendages orientated to east. Inside there are many large rooms, nowadays converted into residences and storage: two floors of open galleries are running to the side of the yard, along the sides east and north-facing.