Historical figure Raimondo Orsini del Balzo

Born in: 1361  - Died in: 1406
Raimondo Orsini del Balzo, also known as Raimondello, was Grand Connestabile of the Kingdom of Naples; Conte di Soleto (1382), Duke of Benevento (1385-1401), Prince of Taranto (1393-1406), Count of Bisceglie (1381-1405), Count of Lecce (1401-1406), Duke of Bari, Lord of Otranto , Nardò, Ugento and Gallipoli; Oria, Ostuni and Martina Franca (from 1401 in exchange for Benevento), Lord of Tricase (1404); Gonfalonier of the Sacred Roman Church (1385).

Raimondello was the second son of Nicola Orsini (1331-1399), third count of Nola, great Giustiziere and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Naples, and his second wife Maria del Balzo, as well as nephew of Sveva del Balzo sister of the most famous Raimondo Del Balzo dei Counts of Soleto. Grandma sold all her jewels to make him a knight and a condottiere. At the age of eight he accompanied him by his great-uncle Raimondo in the castle of Casaluce where the young Raimondello understood for the first time the importance of art as a celebratory value of a family.
He added to his surname Orsini that of the Del Balzo (De Baux) as it was adopted by his uncle Raimondo Del Balzo and his wife Isabella D'Apia, countess of Campagna and Casaluce, to give them a descent.

In the Holy Land, he joined in friendship with some members of the family de Nanteuil (de Nantolio), knights milites of a historic noble family from France with the royal family of Anjou, from whom he learned a lot. Guglielmo de Nanteuil, de Nantolio or dell'Antoglietta, the eldest son of Giovanni, baron of many lands and owner of numerous castles, will become his most trusted advisor. Returning from the Holy Land in 1380, he occupied the county of Soleto (with jurisdiction over the lands of Galatina and Cutrofiano, the farmhouses of Zollino, Aradeo, Sogliano and the castle of Sternatia) given to him by his uncle Raimondo Del Balzo but usurped by his father in favor of the firstborn Roberto.
He was an ally of Louis I of Anjou and, on his advice, he married Maria d'Enghien, countess of Lecce (1367-1446) in 1384, greatly enlarging his domain adding to the county of Soleto, the county of Lecce and the Principality of Taranto. The Principality of Taranto included half of the Kingdom of Naples and the Prince governed it almost independently of the King, becoming the richest feudal lord of Italy with revenues that exceeded those of the King of Naples.

On the death of Louis I of Anjou (September 20, 1384), Raimondello continued his policy in favor of the Angevins, supporting Louis II of Anjou and running in March 1385 in defense of Pope Urban VI threatened by Charles III of Durazzo. Thanks to the armed intervention of Raimondello, the pontiff was freed from the siege of Nocera and, withdrawn in Genoa, with special bubble granted to Count Orsini Del Balzo licensed to build a convent with a hospital and church "sub vocabulo Sanctae Chatarinae" in San Pietro of Galatina.

Towards the end of the 14th century he ordered the construction of the Basilica of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria in Galatina, a masterpiece of Franciscan art. He himself is portrayed inside it together with his son Giovanni Antonio. There is preserved a relic (a finger) of St. Catherine of Alexandria brought to Puglia by Raimondello from the monastery on Mount Sinai where is the body of the saint. It is said that Raimondello, who went in person on a pilgrimage to the Egyptian monastery, in the act of kissing the hand of the mummified body of the Saint in a sign of veneration, subtracted a finger from the corpse detaching it with a bite and hiding it in his mouth until his return in Italy.
Another important work he wanted and commissioned was the homonymous guglia in Soleto, a magnificent late Gothic style bell tower.
Raimondello died in defense of Taranto besieged by King Ladislao on January 17, 1406. At the death of Raimondello, Maria d'Enghien continued the work of her husband by filling the church of Santa Caterina with new masters from Naples.

After his death, the works are continued by his son Giovanni Antonio and his wife Anna Colonna, as evidenced by the Orsini del Balzo coat of arms in question with that of the Colonna both in the church of Santa Caterina and on the last order of the Guglia di Soleto.

Raimondo Orsini del Balzo Visited places

Castello Dentice di Frasso

 Via Sant'Anna, 2 - 72012 Carovigno - Brindisi

The Castello Dentice di Frasso, historic home dating back to the Norman period located in the Alto Salento, dominates the town from its highest point; The Castle is open to the public for... see

Offered services

Location for Ceremonies and Conferences

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Brindisi