Barberini, an Italian family of Tuscany, who settled in Florence in the 11th century, and acquired wealth by trade in the 16th, and historical importance early in the 17th century by the elevation of Maffeo Barberini to the papacy under the name of Urban VIII. His brother Antonio became cardinal, and his brother Carlo general of the papal troops; and the three sons of the latter exercised a vast influence, especially Taddeo, who succeeded his father as general of the papal troops, and married Anna Colonna. He acquired Palest rina and other fiefs, and became prefect of Rome in 1031 after the death of the duke of Urbino and the addition of the dukedom to the papal possessions. Other leading Italian houses, especially the Farnese, took umbrage at the increasing power of the Barberini, which led to the Castro war (1641-4) for the possession of Castro and Ronciglione, Odoardo Farnese, duke of Parma, declaring that he was waging war against the Barberini, and not against the pope. Urban VIII. died in 1644, and though the election of his successor Innocent X. was due to the Barberini influence, one of the first measures of the new pope was to institute proceedings against them, and especially against Taddeo for financial mismanagement.
Taddeo fled to Paris, where he died in 1647. - Fran-cesco, brother of the preceding, born in 1597, died in 1670. He became cardinal and vice chancellor, obtained great influence in the administration, and founded with the aid of Leo Allazzi, a Greek scholar, the Barberini library. He, too, had to leave Rome after the accession of Innocent X., but was permitted to return, and became dean of the sacred college. - Antonio, brother of the preceding, cardinal and high chamberlain under Urban VIII., born in 1608, died in 1671. He held high ecclesiastical offices in France through the favor of Maza-rin, but returned to Italy after his reconciliation with the new pope. - Over 100,000,000 scudi passed into the hands of the Barberini family during their tenure of power. The Barberini palace, one of the largest in Rome, still attests their sumptuous and artistic tastes, and the library continues to be renowned for its valuable MSS. - The present head of the Barberini-Co-lonna family is Enrico, prince of Palestrina, born March 26, 1823, who married in 1853 the princess Teresa Orsini.