Borso d’Este made Maranello the capital of a fief with its own jurisdiction and entrusted it to Teofilo Calcagnini in 1464. After his death, the fief passed on to his descendants.
By 1464, Maranello already had a castle, which was different from the current one and had seen two centuries of struggles between families for the control of the territory. Once power finally returned to the lord of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio Emilia, Borso d’Este, the town reached a decision that changed its fate.
The town decided to incorporate the towns of Montale, San Zenone, Gorzano and San Venanzio into one single fief. The control of the land was entrusted to Teofilo Calcagnini, with Maranello as the capital. The fief was given jurisdiction, i.e. the right to administer civil and criminal justice. Under to its legal system, the feudal lord could levy duties from taverns, inns and butchers. His “deputy” was the Chief Magistrate, who had the right to judge, condemn, punish and fine the subjects in the name of the feudal lord.
The Calcagnini fief was born, and the family maintained control over it, with some interruptions, until the unification of Italy. But who were the Calcagnini? The family was originally from Ferrara. Their coat of arms is quartered, with lions on a red field and three spheres, a crest surmounted by a chained swan and the motto “Il est bien secret.” Teofilo’s father, Francesco, worked for the Gonzaga family of Mantua, then joined Borso d’Este who appointed him General of Polesine and Rovigo. It is claimed he fathered 44 children.
One of them, Teofilo, was Maranello’s first feudal lord. Integrated into the Ferrara high society, he worked at the court of Borso. In 1464 he was solemnly invested in the Cathedral of Ferrara. When he died in 1488, the Maranello fief passed to his descendants.
Silvano Soragni “Maranello. Dal Castello feudale… al maestro Giuseppe Graziosi” Artioli Editore, 2007.
Carmen Galloni e Silvano Soragni “Maranello, dalla preistoria alla fotocronaca” Fioranese, 1995