Offida - From the 1200s to the 1400s

Offida - From the 1200s to the 1400s

According to the "Chronicon farfense" Offida, in those times, was a town in all respects.

It was, therefore, the religious authorities that influenced the terms and the means of urban development in many villages and towns, especially those in the Marches. Pope Urban IV (end of the 12th cent.-1264), by a bull of the 23rd of February, 1261 founded the Presidato Farfense with its own headmaster (judge) who had to administer justice in the territory previously under the dominion of the monastery of Farfa.

The Abbey of Farfa was granted the prerogative of "Diocesis nullius" (not subject to the rule of any bishops).

As regards the Farfa territories of the Piceno area the headmaster resided in S. Vittoria (Fermo and surroundings); to him, the local judges referred the sentences on appeal concerning the whole Farfa properties.

Offida would be included in the Presidato Farfense as well, and this happened up to 1572, when pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) included it in the Diocese of Ascoli. Meanwhile pope Niccolò IV (early 13th cent.-1292), on February 18th, 1291 had granted the communes of the Marches, including that of Offida, the power to elect their podestà, consuls and priors.

An old photo of the town-hall Palace, 14th-15th centuries

It was obvious that Niccolò IV did his best for the recognition of the existing magistracies only. In any case, that would determine the autonomy of government obtained by the " town of Offida" at that time.

Over the centuries Offida, as well as other important communes in the Marches, would be involved in the everlasting and intensified struggles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and between Ascoli and Fermo; these fights would continue for a long time up to the 16th century and Offida would definitely side with Fermo, against Ascoli.

One of the few times Offida had sided with Ascoli was in 1256, as reported by S. Balena in "Ascoli nel Piceno" (1979); that time, Offida had sent troops in order to help the legate of the Marca Annibaldo of Trasmondo, nephew of pope Alexander IV (born? -1261), against some Ghibelline towns (this is related to the so-called Marca Anconitana that, toward the end of the 1200s, included a large part of the today's Marche Region.

In 1213 Innocenzo III (1160-1216) had bounded the Marches by the following towns and dioceses: Ancona, Ascoli, Numana, Camerino, Osimo, Jesi, Senigallia, Fano, Pesaro, Cagli, Fossombrone).

In 1356 three Presidati had been established in the Marca Anconitana: the Presidato of S. Lorenzo in Campo (Pesaro) to the north; the Presidato of Camerino (including Ancona) to the centre; the Presidato Farfense whose main office was in S. Vittoria (in Fermo area) to the south, including that of Offida.

The latter should be subject to the rector (the papal legate) of the Marca Anconitana residing in Macerata.

In 1469, a few Ascoli troops, led by the duke of Calabria, returning from an expedition in the city of Rimini stopped in Offida and here - as reported by Allevi - began to act as the masters.

Following these events a battle arose between Ascoli and Offida and, of course, between the Offida people that sided with Ascoli – led by the Boldrini Family - and the Offida Guelphs – headed by the Baroncellis - with losses on either sides and struggles that had become fiercer and fiercer.

Since the fights would have continued for a long time, especially between Ascoli and Offida people, on May 29th 1488 a papal bull by pope Innocenzo VIII (1432-1492) summoned the leaders of Ascoli and Offida to appear before a court of his within a short time. Nevertheless the civil wars between the two factions, fighting for the total supremacy of the town, never died down, on the contrary they became fiercer and fiercer. Those between the Boldrinis (Ghibellines) and the Baroncellis (Guelphs) definitely were the most renowned.

Carlo, the best known representative of the Baroncelli Family – famous especially for being a warlike man as well as implacable enemy of the Ascoli people - joined various battles against the picena town and in 1498, together with the people of Fermo, gained a victory over the great rivals. Returned to Offida in 1501, he slaughtered the corrupt Spanish Lord Don Michele that, in 1497, had secretly let the Ascoli people – led by the Ghibelline Astolfo Guiderocchi – enter the town and had restored the local government.

The Ghibelline family of the Boldrinis, fierce rival of the Baroncellis, reported the murder of the Spanish Lord Don Michele to the papal legate that ordered Carlo to justify his crime. Having ignored the order he eventually escaped from Offida.

The town, however, was in a state of relative peace since fights still broke out between the two families’ supporters, often provoked by no apparent reason.