Historical figure Lorenzo Campeggi

Born in: 1474  - Died in: 1539
Lorenzo Campeggi, or, less correctly, Campeggio, was a cardinal, Catholic bishop and Italian diplomat, at the service of the Papal States. He was born on 7 November 1474 in Milan, the eldest son of five brothers, to Giovanni Zaccaria, a professor of civil law of the noble Bolognese family and Dorotea of ​​Tommaso Tebaldi.

After his initial studies in Pavia, he studied law under his father at the Universities of Padua and Bologna. From 1496 to 1499 he was active in Venice, then moved to Bologna, where he graduated in utroque iure and obtained a professorship at only twenty-six years. He was considered one of the best canonists in Europe.

In 1500 he married Francesca Guastavillani and from the marriage five children were born, two females and three males, among them Alessandro, who also became cardinal in 1551. In 1509 his wife died prematurely, and the tragedy gave a new direction to the life of Campeggi. He decided to embrace the ecclesiastical career and to enter the service of the Roman Curia. In this he was helped by the benevolence shown by Julius II to his family, who had strongly supported him in contrasts with the city of Bologna.

In 1511 he became auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota and for this reason he moved with his family from Bologna to Rome. After six months he was entrusted with the first diplomatic mission: he was sent to the court of Maximilian I in Germany, to dissuade him from the alliance with Louis XII and prevent him from sending his ambassadors to the schismatic council of Pisa. After a two-month antechamber he was received by the Emperor Maximilian.

On 12 November 1512, thanks to the esteem obtained by Maximilian I, he was appointed bishop of Feltre. The emperor granted him the temporal government of the city, as well as the privilege of wearing the cross and the sword as signs of feudal lordship. He held the office until 1 June 1520 when it was sold to his brother Tommaso Campeggi (Ch). In 1512 he was sent as apostolic nuncio to the duke Massimiliano Maria Sforza of Milan. The nunciature was reconfirmed by the new Pope Leo X. In August 1513 he returned to Rome, to then return in December, for the second time in Germany.

The Turkish expansion towards Persia, Syria and Egypt was of great concern to the Holy See and to the pontiff who cared for the project of promoting peace inter omnes principes Christianos, to make a common front against the Ottoman danger. Under this general plan, the mission of the nuncio should have tried to induce the emperor to make peace with Venice and with Prince Ladislaus of Bohemia and Hungary. The difficulties encountered at court forced him to extend his stay in Germany for four years.

His long stay at court acquired a great deal of respect among the emperor who recommended him to the pope to elevate him to the rank of cardinal. In fact, Leo X created him a cardinal in the consistory of 1 July 1517, together with thirty other prelates, initially assigning him the newly appointed title of cardinal priest of St. Thomas in Parione. He received the red cap on December 12 from Lorenzo Fieschi (Ch), bishop of Mondovì, and the title of his church the following January 24th. Later he represented the Holy See to the emperor with the status of cardinal legate. With the appointment of his successor, Girolamo Aleandro, the permanent nunciature in Germany began at the imperial court. He was appointed cardinal protector of Germany, a position which was reconfirmed by his successor Charles V and which he held until his death.

In 1518 Leo X sent nuncios to all the main European courts to find a Pax Christiana and make a common front against the Turkish danger. The Campeggi was chosen for the mission at the court of Henry VIII of England. The mission was completed thirteen months later and allowed the prelate to gain much respect at the court. A sign of this esteem was the granting of the expectation on the rich diocese of Salisbury and the gift of a palace in Rome, today's Palazzo Torlonia in Via della Conciliazione.

He was consecrated bishop on 6 April 1518 and on 13 November of the following year he opted for the title of Saint Anastasia and was appointed prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura of Justice. He took part in the conclave of 1521-1522 which elected Pope Adrian VI. During this pontificate, Campeggi proposed a plan for the reform of the Church and the elimination of the abuses highlighted by the Reformed. On 10 December 1522 he was appointed governor of the cities of Parma. From 10 March to 4 August of the following year he was in Venice as a bound in latere to propitiate peace with the emperor. In December of that year he was transferred to the Bologna office, a position he held until September of the following year when it was sold to his sons Alessandro Campeggi.On 8 January 1524 he was appointed bound for all Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland and the three Northern Kingdoms. In this capacity he participated in the Nuremberg diet. Here he failed to obtain a commitment from the German states for the great common task of defending against the Turks. He could not even prevent the equally dangerous resolution of the pope and the emperor from treating the cause of Luther during a German national council, to which the secular states would also have participated.

In December 1524 he obtained the administrator of the Salisbury headquarters, a position he held until 1534 when King Henry VIII deposed him. The cardinal witnessed the coup of Pompeo Colonna on 20 September 1526 and the sack of the following year. He shared with Clement VII the imprisonment in Castel Sant'Angelo and was appointed by the pontiff, when he was able to leave Rome, bound in Rome, probably in consideration of his good relations with the imperial court.

In 1528 he opted for the title of Santa Maria in Trastevere and in that year he was again tied up in England to resolve the question of Henry VIII's divorce with Queen Catherine of Aragon. He arrived in London the following February 8th; between March and April you receive from the Pope instructions so that the legation take time and does not pronounce final sentences. Meanwhile, the Pope transferred the case to the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota, as requested by Emperor Charles V, brother of Catherine of Aragon. The papal decision irritated the English king who immediately summoned Campeggi, who witnessed the wrath of the monarch, and at that juncture the cardinal feared for his life. He lost the trust of the king, who revoked the administration of the diocese of Salisbury and waited a few days for the alteration of Henry VIII to diminish, then he asked the monarch for permission to return to Italy.

On February 24, 1530 he was in Bologna for the coronation of Charles V by Pope Clement VII, a ceremony held in the cathedral of Saint Petronius. The concession of the castle of Dozza near Bologna on 3 March 1530 at the Campeggi and its heirs attests to how much Clement VII had appreciated his mission in English land. A few days later the pontiff sent him as tied to the Augusta diet. He traveled from Bologna to Augusta with the emperor where they arrived on June 15th. Thus began the last and most important legation of the Campeggi, which would have kept him away from Rome for two years.

Throughout the year 1531 he stayed at the imperial court, in Brussels or Ghent. In November, the archbishop of Brindisi, Girolamo Aleandro, papal envoy, joined him with the task of supporting the cardinal, often afflicted with illnesses, during the of the next Diet. There was no lack of personal friction between the two, but there was no real contrast, however, given that Campeggi never let himself be deprived of Aleandro. However, both came to assess the use of force as the only means of subjugating the Protestant imperial states, while the emperor did not take into consideration the possibility of enforcing the deliberations of Augusta with weapons. Not even the Roman Curia wanted a war against the Protestants for that winter, his greatest concern was the defense of Italy's east coast against the Ottoman danger, rather felt in Rome, knowing that only the emperor could effectively defend the Italy, by sea and by land. The Campeggi, sick and worried about his personal security, in July 1532 and with unfinished works, asked to be recalled to Rome, and with pontifical approval left Regensburg on 22 August.

In addition to the apostolic administration of Salisbury then revoked by Henry VIII, he was apostolic administrator of Huesca in 1530, Porec in 1533 and Candia in 1534. In 1534 he opted for the title of cardinal bishop first of Albano then in 1535 of Palestrina and in 1537 of Sabina .

There is little information on the last years spent by the cardinal in Italy. He was no longer entrusted with diplomatic missions, but under the pontificate of Paul III, after being summoned by the Pope in 1536 to join the conciliar commission, the canon law expert was appointed president of the council convened in Vicenza in March 1538. But he died before the council opened on 19 July 1539 and was buried in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Lorenzo Campeggi Visited places

Rocca di Dozza

 Piazza della Rocca, SNC - 40060 Dozza - Bologna

The Rocca di Dozza is a monumental complex of medieval origin transformed by Caterina Sforza into a fortified castle and used, during the Renaissance, as a noble residence. Dozza is considered one... see

Offered services

Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Museum / Monument, Wine Shop / Cellar / Estate

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Bologna