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Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma

Ranuccio II Farnese
Portrait of Ranuccio II by Jacob Denys
Duke of Parma and Piacenza
Reign 11 September 1646 – 11 December 1694
Predecessor Odoardo
Successor Francesco
Regent Francesco Maria Farnese
Margherita de' Medici
Born (1630-09-17)17 September 1630
Parma, Parma
Died 11 December 1694(1694-12-11) (aged 64)
Parma, Parma
Burial Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma
Spouse Marguerite Yolande of Savoy
Isabella d'Este
Maria d'Este
Issue Margherita Maria, Duchess of Modena
Oddoardo, Hereditary Prince of Parma
Francesco, Duke of Parma
Antonio, Duke of Parma
House House of Farnese
Father Odoardo Farnese
Mother Margherita de' Medici
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ranuccio II Farnese (17 September 1630 – 11 December 1694) was the sixth Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1646 until his death nearly 50 years later and Duke of Castro from 1646 until 1649.


  • Biography 1
    • Birth and Succession 1.1
    • Conflicts with the Papacy 1.2
  • Family 2


Birth and Succession

Ranuccio was the eldest son of Odoardo Farnese, the fifth sovereign duke of Parma, and his Tuscan wife, Margherita de' Medici. After his father's sudden death, Ranuccio succeeded as duke. As he was a minor and had not yet reached his majority, he ruled the first two years of his reign under the regency of his uncle, Francesco Maria Farnese and his mother.

Ranuccio belonged to the House of Farnese, founded by Pope Paul III, formerly Alessandro Farnese. The Farnese Dukes had been ruling Parma and Piacenza since Pope Paul's illegitimate son Pier Luigi Farnese was given it as a possession. Pier Luigi was also Duke of Castro, a title he was bestowed upon by his father, after the latter created it from the lands recovered after the death of Ranuccio the Elder, Pier Luigi's younger brother.

Conflicts with the Papacy

Pope Innocent X, conqueror and destructor of Castro

During Odoardo's reign the declining Duchy had been involved in the Wars of Castro, over the above mentioned duchy of Castro, which was a Farnese fief in the Papal States, north of Rome, which the powerful Pope Urban VIII's family, the Barberini, was eager to acquire. They found the excuse when Odoardo was unable to repay his creditors, from whom he had incurred debts. Urban responded to the creditors plea for help and had Castro occupied. However, the first war ended with Papal defeat

Ranuccio refused to repay the debts incurred by his father, despite the latter having a signed a peace treaty agreeing to do so. He also refused to recognise the new bishop of Castro, appointed by Urban's successor, Innocent X. In 1649, the new bishop, Cardinal Cristoforo Giarda, was murdered on his way to Castro. Innocent accused Ranuccio of the murder and in retaliation, forces loyal to the Pope besieged Castro, and then razed it to the ground. In August of that same year the Parmense troops had been crushed not far from Bologna, and Ranuccio remained with no means to gain back his fief, despite his attempts to buy it back through money.

In 1672 he bought the principate of Bardi and Compiano from Gianandrea Doria Landi, giving the Duchy its final shape. In the last days of his reign, the Duchy suffered heavily from the presence of Imperial troops, who were fighting in the dispute between Victor Amadeus II of Savoy and France.


Equestrian statue of Ranuccio II Farnese by Francesco Mochi (1615)

[[Image:Marguerite Yolande de Savoie,

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