The Formentini descend from the powerful feudal house of the Plato, originally from the Val di Taro in Emilia.
Plato, son of Facinio count of Angheria, probably an ungaro leader named in Italy by Berengario II, was the forefather of the Platoni family, who took their name from the castle of Platono. Di Plato has preserved the will, dated 1022, with which he established heirs of his vast patrimony the numerous sons.
One of these, Porcario, received large estates in the Milan area and gave rise to the Porcari family, who later joined the Guelph party of the Torriani family, in the thirteenth century lords of Milan. When the Torriani lost the supremacy in the fight against the Visconti, Formentino Porcari di Alzate followed Raimondo della Torre in Friuli, where the latter became, in 1275, Patriarch of Aquileia. In 1299, at the death of the patriarch Raimondo, Formentino was sent to command the Cremonese troops who accompanied the entrance of the new patriarch Pietro Gera. The son of Formentino, Simone, was the last to use the surname Porcari, assuming the paternal name as a surname. He had settled in the thriving city of Cividale, where he had built a sumptuous palace next to the Porta Brossana, still recognizable today for a series of elegant Romanesque mullioned windows.
The sons of Simone, Giovanni, Nicolò and Leonardo, obtained extensive feudal possessions in the Natisone Valleys, entertaining lively cultural and commercial exchanges with the nearby Carniola.
In 1357 the Emperor Charles IV, on the proposal of his brother-in-law Nicolò, then Patriarch of Aquileia, confirmed to the Formentini brothers the ancient nobility designing them nobles of the Holy Roman Empire. The diploma, signed in Melnick in 1357, is still kept in the family archive. The new Formentini coat of arms dates back to this period: the ancient weapon of the Porcari, depicting a silver wild boar in a silver field, was modified and became a match, to the first of silver three wild boars on top of each other, the one of half silver, the second of red with the silver band.
Tradition has it that the three wild boars represent the three Porcari brothers, to whom the nobility linked to the new surname Formentini was confirmed, while the red field surrounded by silver are the colors of the patriarchate of Aquileia and the city of Cividale. The Formentini in Friuli divided into numerous branches. Several branches descended from Leonardo that remained mostly in Cividale, while Nicolò bought the feudal castle of Cusano in Pordenone, which earned his family the privilege of being part of the parliamentary nobility of Friuli. In the fourteenth century the Formentini became part of the noble consortium of the castle of Tolmin, the summer residence of the patriarchs who hosted Dante Alighieri.
From the castle of Tolmin, the Formentini drew the first and oldest noble preacher. In the fifteenth century Adam, great-grandson of Nicolò and miles auratus of imperial investiture, is remembered as a cultured and refined character, very rich but excessively prodigal. His wife, Giacoma dei conti di Porcia, was a nephew of Duke Azzo d'Este. From two of his sons, several branches of the family originated. Girolamo propagated his family to Cividale, where he lived Poliotto (1603-1719), a politician and culture man who collected several medieval codes.
Lodovico Giuseppe (1655-1719), a politician at the service of the Republic of San Marco, obtained in 1718 the restoration of the ancient title of count, derived from the Platoni family and extended to all branches of the family. The first-born line of Cividale, which had expressed remarkable figures of condottieri, became extinct in Aiello del Friuli at the end of the nineteenth century. The second-line branch of this branch moved in the eighteenth century from Tolmin to Graz, where it became extinct in the early twentieth century. On the other son of Adam, Felice, two other branches of the family descended: of his sons Vinciguerra founded the branch which in 1634 received as a legacy from the barons of Dornberg the castle of San Floriano in the Gorizia hills, while Felice founded the branch of Gorizia. At the branch of San Floriano belonged several leaders, some fallen in the wars against the Turks, and some clergymen. It became extinct at the end of the eighteenth century.
The branch derived from Felice, the only currently flourishing, settled in the mid-sixteenth century in the county of Gorizia. Felice's nephews, Leonardo and Francesco, were welcomed into the Teutonic Order. Leonardo (around 1535-1596) was able to reconcile spiritual and practical gifts, as a man of vast and refined humanistic, esoteric culture and marked in his youth by the experience of the Lutheran reform, but also as a leader in the wars against the Turks and builder of buildings sacred and civil for the Teutonic Order, of which he was commander in Ljubljana. His nephews Gaspare and Carlo, the latter commander of the Gorizia militias in the wars against the Venetians, considerably increased the family patrimony, acquiring the fiefs of Biglia and Vosizza in the Gorizia area. In 1623, Emperor Ferdinand II granted the sons of Charles the title of barons of the Holy Roman Empire with the preachings of Tolmino and Biglia. Towards the end of the seventeenth century the brothers Lodovico and Ferdinando, the first in political life as sent to the court of Vienna and the second as a priest, showed rare sensitivity and justice in the management of business related to clashes between the noble and popular classes and the enriched recent social promotion. The son of Lodovico, Francesco Ignazio (1698-1779), was a general of the imperial army and married the Countess Marianna Scotti of Piacenza. His son Paolo Emilio (1737-1803) married the baroness Lodovica Rassauer, heiress of this ancient Gorizia family.
In 1774, at the extinction of the Formentini di Cusano branch, it took possession of this ancient castle and was ascribed to the Aureo Libro dei Titolati of the Republic of Venice under the title of Count of Cusano. With the son of Paolo Emilio, Francesco Ignazio (1780-1849), married to Gioseffa Grayer, the branch of Gorizia experienced a moment of decline. Part of the lineage remained in the Pordenone area, where the castle of Cusano was now in ruins, while the eldest son Michele (1805-1841), thanks to the intervention of some generous relatives, took possession of the estate of Gorizia, together with the castle of San Floriano inherited from the now extinct branch that had possessed him for two centuries.
Judge and lawyer, he died prematurely, leaving the estate to his son Giuseppe Floriano (1832-1894). Historian, writer and politician, Giuseppe Floriano restored the castle of San Floriano and built a sumptuous villa in Gorizia. In 1857 he had from the emperor Francesco Giuseppe confirmation of the title of count Veneto, connected in 1881 with the predicate of Musmezzi. From the marriage with Ernestina of the Counts Claricini-Dornpacher had fourteen children, including four officers of the Austro-Hungarian army. The firstborn Paolo Emilio (1871-1914), who settled in Graz, fell in the First World War with his brother Adam (1888-1914). Lorenzo (1880-1934) founded a recently extinct branch in Innsbruck, while Gino (1878-1947), also an officer, dedicated himself together with his sister Cecilia (1892-1978), married de Nipoti, to the reestablishment of the family hardly tried by the war vicissitudes. The family was propagated by Egone (1881-1943), who in 1941 had with his brothers remained in Gorizia, meanwhile incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy, the confirmation of the title of count. Currently the family owns the castle of San Floriano, the prestigious Palladian villa of Saciletto di Ruda, the eighteenth-century Palace of Rigolato in Carnia, and the large complex of the Museum of Convental Civilization of Friuli Imperiale in Aiello del Friuli, conceived and directed by Michele Formentini .