Short Essay on the History of the del Balzo/Orsini family

Genealogy Orsini / del Balzo (see page Genealogy and family tree del Balzo ) de Baux, Sn de Gaudissart, Cte di Soleto, died a Tanaro 1315
m.c.a. 11 Dec 1310 Jacopa della Marra del Balzo, Cte di Soleto, Marshal of the Kingdom of Naples/Sicily
d.1375, bur Naples;

marr.1st before 1332 Margherita d'Aquino;

marr..2d before 11 Feb 1337 Isabelle d'Appes del Balzo; marr.1330 Roberto Orsini, Cte di Nola;

her descendants inherited the estates of her brother Raimondo del Balzo Count of Soleto and took the surname Orsini del Balzo :

had issue: Raimondo Orsini del Balzo Prince of Taranto died 1406

m.Marie d'Enghien Ctss of Lecce c.a 1380 had issues (three sons)

1). Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo Prince of Tarant
m.Anna Colonna ( d.1465 )

2).Gabriel Orsini del Balzo Duc of Venosa d.1465 m.Jeanne Caracciolo

had issue : (two daughters )

1.Maria Donata Orsini del Balzo d. ca 1487
marr.Pirro del Balzo 4th Duc of Andria

2.Ramondina Orsini del Balzo 1490
marr. Roberto Sanseverino Prince of Salerno

3).Caterina Orsini del Balzo m.Tristan di Chiaramonte Cte of Copertno
had issue : (two daughters)

- Isabella di Chiaramonte m. Ferrante I King of Naples d.1494 ;

- Sancia di Chiaromonte, m. Francesco II 3rd Duc of Andria d.1482

Raimondello Orsini del Balzo, Prince of Taranto (XIV sec. - Taranto 1406), son cadet of Roberto Orsini, Count of Nola.
In 1380 , he returned from the East occupies with violence the Earldom of Soleto and some other lands pertaining to his mother inheritance.

In May 1382 Roberto , in order to fight the rebellious son, asks king Charles III of Durazzo for help. Charles , however, was engaged in the fight against Luigi I of Angiò and he profits of the friendship and the alliance of the young del Balzo, because he wants him to its flank against the Angevin.

After few years , Raimondello revolts against Charles III and he passes from the part of Luigi I of Angiò. In the fight with the father Roberto , Raimondello, succeeds to obtain the fiefdoms and lands that they were up for inheritance.

Following the advise of the Angevin , in 1384, married Maria of Enghien, Countess of Lecce and owner of important Fiefdoms.

When in 1384 Luigi I of Angiò died , Raimondello continues in its politics in favour of the House of Anjou , supporting Luigi II of Angiò and in March of 1385, helps the Pontiff Urbano VI threatened in Nocera by the troops of Carl III of Durazzo.
The pope UrbanVI is liberated in 1385 , the Pontiff grants to Count Raimondello Orsini del Balzo licence to build a Convent , an Hospital and a Church " sub vocabulo Sanctae Chatarinae" in S. Peter in Galatina.

With the inheritance from the wedding with Maria of Enghien , together with his vast Lands , Raimondello becomes one of the most powerful Lord of Southern Italy and his switch from Luigi II of Angiò to Ladislao the Magnanimous , during the dynastic fights for the Realm , he becomes the key player for the defeat and the final dissolution of the Anjou-Naples branch (1399).

Raimondello again came in contrast with Ladislao of the Durazzo branch. The king had placed under besieges the city of Taranto, Raimondello, was there to defense his own Lands and died in 1406 , but the resistance and the fight continued, even if for a short period, from the widow Maria of Enghien.

Giovanni Antonio (or Giannantonio) Orsini del Balzo, son of Raimondello and Maria of Enghien cannot succeed in 1407 the father, because of the wedding between his mother and the king Ladislao the Magnanimous .

With this wedding, in fact, it was intentional to prevent the celebration of the one with Maria of Anjou -Valois, daughter of Luigi II, that would have established an opposite military political alliance, in contrast to what was the purpose of his mother original marriage.

Later, in 1417, he married the grandaughter of Pope Martino V, Anna of the princes Colonna.

He become Prince of Taranto in 1414 , was then involved in the dynastic fights during the Reign of Giovanna II, greater sister of Ladislao , who was very hostile to him.

He was by the side of Alfonso V of Aragon (Alfonso I°, king of Naples) and was opposed to his son , Ferrante (Ferdinando I ) king of Naples. He died in 1463, in Altamura, assassinated, and its fiefdoms were returned to the the Crown.

(see full genealogy on the del Balzo family Tree)