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A distinguished Italian family, said to be descended from Albanian refugees of the fifteenth century. It soon divided into two branches, those of Bergamo and those of Urbino. They gave to the Church one Pope (Clement XI, 1700-21) and several well-known cardinals.
(1) Gian Girolamo
Solder, statesman, and canonist, b. at Bergamo, 3 January, 1504 d. 25 April, 1591. For services to the Venetian republic he was rewarded with the office of inquisitor at Bergamo, where he made the acquaintance of Cardinal Ghisliero. When the latter became Pius V, he invited Albani to Rome, made him a cardinal (1570), and employed him on diplomatic missions, among them being the formation of an alliance of Christian princes against the Turks Gian Girolamo was a distinguished canonist, and was accounted by his contemporaries a man of "solid judgment rare erudition and eloquence, free and firm in his decisions, pleasant and temperate in speech, in every way a grave and reliable person". Among his often reprinted works are "De donatione Constantini" (Cologne, 1535), "De cardinalatu" (Rome, 1541) "De potestate papae et concilii" (Venice, 1544) "De immunitate ecclesiarum" (Rome, 1553): cf Hurter, "Nomencl. Lit." (2d ed.), I, 122.
See CLEMENT XI.
Cardinal Bishop of Sabina (1711), cousin of Clement XI, b. 15 August, 1682, at Urbino; d. 21 September, 1751 patron of ecclesiastical literature; he left a valuable library, a gallery of paintings and sculpture, and a cabinet of coins that eventually was added to the Vatican collection. He edited, in two volumes, the letters, briefs, and bulls of Clement XI (Rome, 1724), the "Menologium Græcorum" (3 vols., Urbino, 1727), and historical memoirs of Urbino (Rome 1722-24).
Brother of Annibale, b. at Urbino, 19 October, 1692, d. 11 December, 1779. He entered the priesthood at the earnest insistence of Clement XI, but gave no little trouble to that Pope because of his worldly and undisciplined life. In 1721 Innocent XII made him cardinal. He was a friend of Austria during the delicate negotiations of his own time, and sided with the opposition in the reign of Clement XIV (1769-74). He was also an enlightened patron of art and artists, helped to reconcile with the Church the sculptor and art-historian Winckelmann, built the Villa Albani (1760) and filled it with treasures of antique sculpture and other precious relics of Greek and Roman art (dispersed by Napoleon I; the famous Antinous is there still). His coins went to the Vatican Library, over which he presided as bibliothecarius from 1761 (Strocchi, "De vitâ Alex. Albani," Rome, 1790).
(5) Giovanni Francesco
Born at Rome, 26 February, 1727; died September, 1803; a nephew of Clement XI, and Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia at the age twenty-seven.
Nephew of the preceding, b. at Rome, 1750, made cardinal 1801 he shared the habitual devotion of his house to Austria, took refuge in Vienna, 1796-1814, returned to Rome after the downfall of Napoleon, and occupied offices of distinction in the papal administration until his death (1834). He left his fortune partly to the Holy See, partly for religious purposes. With his brother Filippo the family died out; its name and part of its possessions passed to the Chigi.
Mazzuchelli, Scrittoi d'ltalia; TIPADDO, Biografia ltaliana; Litta, Famiglie celebri Italiane; Düx in Kirchenlex. For the Palazzo Albani and the Villa Albani, see Létarouilly, Les édifces de Rome moderne (Brussels, 1855-66).
THOMAS J. SHAHAN