ITALY: The Papal Prince

In medieval Rome, when swords were drawn in factional street fighting, the battle cries of the two most powerful families were "Orsini for the church!" and "Colonna for the people!" For more than a millennium the princely Orsinis have stood firmly beside the Vatican; tradition credits them with five Popes, 18 saints, 40 cardinals. Eleven Orsini women became queens; Orsini men married twelve daughters of kings and emperors. In 1725 Pope Benedict XIII sought to end the continuous feuding between Orsini and Colonna by ordering that the leader of each house should alternate as his Prince Assistant at Mass...

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