1724: This Family Produced the most Popes

1724: This Family Produced the most Popes

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 7. March 1724
  • The Conti family from the town of Segni southeast of Rome produced as many as four popes. The last of them, Pope Innocent XIII, died on this day. His birth name was Michelangelo dei Conti.

This day in 1724 marked the death of Pope Innocent XIII, the last pope from the Italian Conti family. That family produced as many as four popes, making it the leading family in history in this regard. Its only possible competitor is the Medici family, which some claim also produced four popes. However, one of the popes with the surname Medici – Pius IV – did not belong to the Florentine branch of the Medici family, and was probably not even related to them.

Among the other families that produced more than one pope first after the Contis and the Medicis are the Orisnis, who had three popes among their ranks. It is very likely that no other family produced more than two popes. Let us mention some of these families with a “double crown”: Borgia, Piccolomini, della Rovere, Savelli, and Fieschi.

The Conti family, which through the centuries produced the four mentioned popes, hailed from the town of Segni southeast of Rome. The following popes were members of the Conti family: Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV, and Innocent XIII (whose birth name was Michelangelo dei Conti). Pope Innocent XIII’s family possessed the impressive Poli palace in Rome, which serves as the background of the famous Trevi Fountain.

It is also interesting that Innocent XIII was the last pope in history to bear that name. The Conti family had its first pope in the form of the powerful Innocent III (one of the greatest medieval popes), while Innocent XIII was its last pope. It has since been suggested that the beatification process be set in motion for Innocent XIII.

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