The Isolani family, an 800 year history
History recounts that Gualtiero da Nicosia, from the ancient Lusignani family of Cyprus, came to Bologna to study in 1270 and while he was here married an aristocratic Bologna girl. This was the origin of the Isolani lineage who thus owe their name to their Cypriot origins.
The family’s origins
A family of mainly silk merchants the Isolani family quickly made its presence felt on the Bologna political and economic scene. In the early 15th century Jacopo Isolani, member of the Consiglio Generale and the city’s medical college, was nominated cardinal deacon by Pope John XXIII and accorded the powers of vicar general over the papal state thus obtaining great influence which stretched beyond the confines of Bologna. The family’s importance was then further reinforced firstly by the title of gonfaloniere for justice and then in 1505 when a member of the family was made senator by Pope Leo X. The family’s wealth and land estates grew alongside its influence and thus to the original merchant house in Strada Maggiore (1210) was added first Palazzo Isolani, inherited from the Lupari (1671), and then neighbouring Palazzo Bolognini (1842) which formed a single estate between Strada Maggiore and Piazza Santo Stefano which today constitute Palazzo Isolani and Corte Isolani.
The family’s dynamic and hardworking character is not simply historic and, in tribute to its history, the heirs to the family tradition are keen to maintain this entrepreneurial character and are thus involved in many and varied activities making use of the heritage of their long history. This was the logic behind Isolani Meeting which has opened the family’s splendid residences to the public for events in perfect harmony with the past in which the family customarily threw sumptuous parties and hosted imperial rank guests.