Fortress in the Apennines in north central Italy, southwest of Reggio nell’Emilia.
Its lords, who appear in the mid-10th century, extended their territory to Reggio, and eventually to Modena and to lands in the Po delta. They also became Marquises of Tuscany in the 1020s.
The heiress of this powerful family was the Countess Matilda, whose brother died c.1055 and who died herself in 1115 after a long career, much of it as Papal champion. It was to her castle of Canossa that the Emperor Henry IV came in January 1077 to humble himself before the Pope. She died childless in 1115. Her bequests caused confusion and the MATILDINE LANDS were long disputed.